The Office for Students (OfS) has launched a funding competition for universities and colleges looking for innovative ways to help students find graduate-level employment close to home. Winning institutions will receive between £100,000 and £300,000 (and up to £500,000 for collaborative bids) to:
“Develop and implement innovative projects to test ways of improving transition into highly skilled employment for graduates and students who seek work in their home regions.”
The background to the competition is the 2015-16 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, which found that 45% of graduates do not move from their home region either to study or work, and that 24% come back to their home region after study to get a job. In total, this means that 69% of all graduates take their first job in their home region.
In recognition of this, the competition, which is very much connected to some of the aims and ambitions set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, invites providers to develop and deliver innovative approaches for graduates and particular student groups to contribute to improved outcomes and prosperity, particularly at the local level, since there are often vast disparities of productivity and labour market opportunities between different areas country.
We have previously noted the results of the DLHE survey, and the implications that it has for HE Institutions (HEIs) of being able to really advance the prosperity of their region (see articles here and here). If institutions know that the majority of their students will stay in their home area to find employment after graduation, it presents a number of opportunities to foster prosperity in their region, such as:
Better Portfolio Alignment
By developing a portfolio that better reflects the needs of employers in its region, HEIs can ensure that its courses are more likely to lead to good employment outcomes.
Better Careers Information
By showing students and would-be students how their degree relates to certain career pathways in their region, providers can help people make more informed choices.
Better Employer Engagement
By identifying which industries are projected to grow over the next few years, institutions can use this as a basis to engage and partner with relevant regional employers.
To facilitate these opportunities, HEIs need to get better at understanding industry demand for their region, and how well connected their course areas are to what employers need. The most effective method of doing this is by using regional Labour Market Insight (LMI), to answer the following questions:
• What are the highest employing graduate level jobs in our region?
• Which graduate level jobs are set to grow most over the next few years?
• What industries are these jobs found in?
• Which industries are set to grow or decrease the most in our region?
• How do the courses at our institution compare to the current and future needs of our regional economy?
We have a number of free materials that explain these issues in more detail, and which should be of help for any institution thinking of entering the OfS competition, or indeed any provider that just wants to understand how to develop course areas that are geared to producing better employment outcomes.
Webinar on 13th November
This will focus on how your institution can identify employers’ needs for highly skilled workers in your region; shape course areas to better match these needs; and use the data to link your students to employment in the region.
Three Steps to Building a Portfolio Geared to Better Employment Outcomes
This “How to” guide takes you in three simple steps through how you can develop a more industry-aligned portfolio, including aligning your current course areas; understanding local graduate job trends; and identifying opportunities for new courses.
The Graduate Labour Market in Your Region
This short report gives you a snapshot of the graduate labour market in your region, including a general overview; details of the biggest and fastest growing graduate jobs; and a focus on Artificial Intelligence.
You can register for the webinar or get your free copies of the guide and regional report by clicking on the buttons below.