Friday, 27 November 2009

Why work experience matters: a HECSU report

HECSU has just published a report exploring Real Prospects 2009 graduates’ experiences of placements, internships and work experience. The Real Prospects 2009 graduates that describe a transition from work experience and placements to employment highlight the importance of making students aware of and ensuring access to these opportunities. What the Real Prospects graduates’ experiences do emphasise is how useful work experience is for graduates and that not only does it allow them to acquire skills, knowledge and contacts it also enables them to explore job roles, careers and their interests.

One graduate comments:

“After completing a voluntary internship with the employer, I was made aware of their vacancies at the time, one of which, higher members of the organisation strongly suggested I apply for. I felt very comfortable with the working environment having grown quite accustomed to it during my internship and was made to feel very welcome throughout”

Go to the HECSU website for the full report

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Having a torrid time trying to write an article for Graduate Market Trends on Masters graduates at the moment.

I hate getting blocked, especially when it comes to statty data of the kind that I rather like.

We've been conducting an ongoing exercise of trying to gauge the state of the current graduate labour market in the regions, and it has sparked off (at least in my head) some of the thoughts I have been having about labour market information. We use the HESA DLHE data quite a lot, and this summer and autumn I've been developing a little sideline in talking about why this data is so very good and useful. If anyone was lucky/unlucky (delete according to personal experience) to catch any of what I can only call my turns at Biennial or recent events, you'll have caught my arguments.

But one thing we can't really do with it, is capture a current flavour of fast-moving labour markets of the kind we're experiencing at the moment. To do that, we need boots on the ground and a great deal of observation. Statistics Office data is rarely differentiated at graduate level, and with the proportion of the UK working age population possessing Level 4 or above somewhere around 33%, it means this data is not always helpful to assess the graduate labour market - let alone that for postgraduates. There are often useful bits and pieces of data here and there - for example Elizabeth Wilkinson is currently doing some very nice posts on NW employers that deserve an airing, but in general, it's a bit of an uphill task to try to keep on top of what's going on in local labour markets.

That doesn't mean we shan't and won't try, but there are limits to what can be achieved, and so we're always keen to hear from anyone with current intelligence on the state of their local labour markets.

That way we won't have to strain poor old DLHE to breaking point and then get upset when it doesn't do what we've asked it to.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

To prove I'm still alive

...I'm doing a Guardian webchat this afternoon at 2 on NHS careers.

Anyone wanting to ask questions, hurl insults, critique my spelling and grammar or even find out about NHS careers, can look here