Graduate recruiters call for better links between universities and firms

Universities need to build more “genuine partnerships” with employers, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters

March 27, 2015

The AGR made the observation in a pre-election manifesto published on 27 March that sets out what it would like a future government to tackle.  

The manifesto includes a series of recommendations for a future administration to help employers, schools and universities to fully prepare young people for the world of work.

Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the AGR, said: “Our manifesto reflects the views of over 300 major employers, which collectively recruit over 21,500 students a year in the UK.”

He added: “We’re urging all political parties to consider the recommendations in our manifesto; adopting them will help to ensure the UK can continue to produce exceptional work-ready students and bring huge benefits to the economy.”

Among these calls to action, the AGR suggests that “employers should provide more work experience opportunities to pupils and ensure that all work experience of a duration over two weeks is paid at the legal minimum wage”.

It has also been suggested that universities should “build genuine partnerships with employers and make greater use of meaningful industrial boards to help shape employability programmes across all levels” as well as measuring universities’ levels of engagement with these employers.

Mr Isherwood believes there is a strong “need to be working harder as a country to develop young people for the world of employment”.

He said: “The government, employers, schools, universities and students themselves all need to do their bit to inspire young people and help them achieve their potential.”

He believes this can be achieved by offering “better careers advice and enterprise education in schools and universities, as well as more meaningful paid work experience to expose young people to the working world”.

Within the manifesto, Jillian Burton, graduate programme manager at Lloyd’s Register, suggests that people need to be prepared for an active role in an ever changing global economy.

She said: “I feel strongly that everybody is ‘talent’, it is not just a small pool of people, we just need to harness it.”

She believes that we should “acknowledge that the fast changing dynamics of technology, industry, cultures and economies will affect what we need from the incoming generations and embrace the new skills they can bring”.

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Reader's comments (1)

Suggested issues to be resolved academia - employer links 1. Many universities (and employers) are barely participating in the new higher level 'trailblazer' apprenticeships. 2. The highly selective universities' courses tend to require A levels rather than vocational prerequisite qualifications. 3.Degrees related to and accredited by the professional societies tend to generate employer interest and graduate recruitment. 4.For the research-type universities contacts leading to research funding tend to dominate relationships.

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