Retaining graduate talent in the South West – Gradsouthwest launches first SW Grad Scheme Directory

South West Grad Scheme Directory (LinkedIn banner)

Gradsouthwest, the South West’s graduate jobs board, is pleased to launch its’ first ever South West Grad Scheme Directory – a guide to the range of graduate schemes, programmes and traineeships available in the South West.

You may be surprised by how many employers offer grad schemes in the region, and how many options there are for graduates to remain locally.

Covering Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol & the West of England; the Directory aims to help those graduates that want to work in the South West find graduate employment. There are three sections – a full listing of employers offering schemes with graduate web address, and then listings by county area and by sector.

This is the first year Gradsouthwest has pulled together a Directory following requests from students for more information about what is available in the region. Our aim is to provide an easy to read guide that students have access to that helps them find suitable schemes in the region.

In addition, we will of course continue to advertise 100’s of graduate job vacancies throughout the year – so whether it’s a grad scheme, or a single job vacancy – Gradsouthwest is the place to go!

Commenting on the Directory, Dr Deborah Watson, Director of Gradsouthwest, said:

“We’ve been asking students and graduates about where they want to work, and they tell us that they’d love to ‘stay local’, but roles aren’t very visible and they don’t know what is available locally. So we decided to act: to help students and graduates find local jobs and to help employers recruit we created a free graduate scheme directory for opportunities in the region.”

To download your copy click here.

If you are running a graduate scheme and would like to be listed in the next version of the Directory please let us know. If you are recruiting graduates – either for a scheme or individual jobs, and would like to advertise with us please email us at admin@gradsouthwest.com.

 

To find out more about Gradsouthwest, visit www.gradsouthwest.com

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Making students employable with Plymouth University

Plymouth_New_Logo

June 2017 saw Gradsouthwest undertake a student project with Plymouth University.

Through Plymouth University’s Inspiring Futures team, we have been working with a group of BSc(Hons) Business Management students completing their 2nd year of study with a Project Management module. The students completed a 2 week business project that we set the brief for – reporting their findings back to us.

By engaging with students, as part of their courses, on real life business projects, we are helping the next generation of students become more business ready and immediately employable. Something our employers are always looking for in their new recruits.

Dr Deborah Watson, Director of Gradsouthwest said, “Here at Gradsouthwest, we very much believe in ‘walking the talk’ – we encourage employers to take the leap and work with their local Universities and Colleges – and so it is only right that we do so too!”

The students received a short written brief and a verbal briefing from Gradsouthwest on the project we wanted them to undertake – in this case a short competitor analysis. The students then took 2 weeks to project manage and research the brief, before reporting back to us.

“We were very pleased with the quality of the work presented to us by the students. They completed the brief, providing an electronic report and verbal feedback. Our challenge now is to use their insight to improve our service to both students and employers.”

Penny Hele, Inspiring Futures Project Officer at Plymouth University said: “Plymouth Business School students develop their employability and entrepreneurial skills whilst adding value to local business community by undertaking free, consultancy projects as part of their studies. Projects include creating a social media strategy, undertaking competitor analysis, conducting a website review and researching funding options.”

If you are interested in undertaking a project with Plymouth University, please contact penny.hele@plymouth.ac.uk for more information.

Avoid the #1 Graduate CV Error

We see a lot of CVs. And we know it’s really hard to make sure they’re perfect. But there’s one area where we see lots of graduates shooting themselves in the foot; attention to detail.

Attention to detail is important. Recruiters like it. But if you’re going to claim you have it, you’d better be sure that your CV is absolutely perfect – and that’s not easy. Even when you’ve spent hours on it and checked it the requisite a million and one times.

The problem is clear. As soon as you claim you have attention to detail, anyone reading your CV will immediately be looking for evidence or counter evidence.

Here’s an example of where things go badly wrong – an amalgamation of the most common errors we’ve seen in CVs lately. How many errors can you find?

errors

So, what to do?

Well firstly, do you really need to include ‘attention to detail’? It’s not generally a skill prioritised for graduates so maybe you should use the space to give evidence of something else. Creativity? Initiative? Teamwork? Ability to learn?

And if you must include it, can you get three people to check your CV first? Don’t just ask them to read it but ask them to find  five mistakes in it. Even better, take your CV to your university careers service to give it the once over.

Few skills as attention to detail are so easily debunked. And, when they are it makes recruiters sceptical about the other skills you list. So exercise caution – or extreme proof reading and checking – before you claim Attention 2 detailed.

Do you see what we did there? Recruiters certainly will…..

Charlotte Weston

Charlotte is a graduate with many years’ experience in both large and small organisations. She now works as a consultant to a range of SMEs across the south west and is a Non-Executive Director of Gradsouthwest.

Graduates very much in demand – CBI survey

The 2016 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey “The Right Combination” was published yesterday, and makes excellent reading for graduates as demand from employers for their higher level skills continues and is projected to rise in the coming years. As for employers, they have high levels of satisfaction with their graduate recruits and know just how critical the right skills are when someone enters the workforce – however there are concerns over the numbers of graduates available to meet high-skills gaps.

The survey, conducted across the UK during April-May 2016, received nearly 500 responses from employers of all sizes (51% SMEs) accounting for the employment of more than 3.2million people. Over 40% of respondents had some staff in the South West.  Below we provide the headline messages from the report for you.

Key messages for graduates and graduate recruiters:

Demand for higher skills is rising fast

  • More than three quarters of businesses (77%) expect to have more job openings for people with higher-level skills over the coming years while just 3% expect to have fewer.
  • The proportion of businesses not confident there will be enough people available in the future with the skills to fill their high-skilled jobs has reached a new high (69%).
  • More than four in five businesses (84%) will be maintaining or increasing their investment in training in the year ahead.
  • Fewer than one in ten businesses (9%) has cut back on graduate recruitment in the past year while 29% increased their graduate intakes, giving a positive balance of +20% increasing graduate recruitment. This represents a further expansion in graduate jobs, following positive balances of increased graduate intakes of +13% in 2015 and +18% in 2014.

Ensuring graduates have the skills for successful careers

  • Businesses look first and foremost for graduates with the right attitudes and aptitudes to enable them to be effective in the workplace – nearly nine in ten employers (87%) rank these in their top considerations, far above factors such as the university attended (13%).
  • For nearly two thirds of businesses the degree subject studied is also among the top three considerations (cited by 65%), particularly in sectors such as manufacturing and among engineering, science & hi-tech firms (86% and 83% respectively).
  • Many businesses are satisfied with graduates’ basic skills and general readiness for employment, with more than four in five firms reporting satisfaction or better with graduates numeracy (91%) and literacy skills (86%), and nearly the same proportion satisfied or better with graduates’ problem solving (79%) and communication skills (77%).

So the messages are pretty clear – demand for the higher-level skills that graduates bring to the workforce are very much in demand, and that demand is set to grow.

To delve into further details see the full report.

To recruit a recent graduate or to find a graduate job here in the South West go to: www.gradsouthwest.com

 

Dr Deborah Watson, Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.

 

Latest graduate employment news – destinations and starting salaries

The latest graduate employment figures have been released by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)1 showing the employment destination of the 2014-15 cohort – which consisted of over 668,000 graduates.

The results show 94% of last year’s graduates are in employment or further study, with 71% in professional roles.

Chart 1 shows the breakdown by destination: 72% were working either in the UK or overseas, 6% were combining work and study and 13% were continuing their studies.  5% were unemployed.

DLHE2014-5

The percentage of full-time first degree leavers who were unemployed varied between subjects, ranging from those which have traditionally low percentages, such as medicine & dentistry (less than 1%), veterinary science (1%), education (2%) and subjects allied to medicine (2%) to those with higher percentages of unemployment such as computer science (10%), physical science (8%) and engineering & technology (8%).

In 2014/15, of the full-time first degree leavers who were employed in the UK, over two-thirds (71%) were in posts classified as professional employment (68% in 2013/14). The remaining 29% were working in occupational groups classed as non-professional. Sales and customer service occupations accounted for 10% of all leavers in employment, the largest group in the non-professional occupations. Although we know our recruiters might disagree with these roles being classified as non-professional!

Salary levels

Of those working in the UK in full-time paid employment the median salary reported (to the nearest £500) was £21,000 (£21,000 in 2013/14). The mean salary was £22,500 compared to £21,500 in 2013/14.

The largest median salaries were reported by leavers who studied Medicine and dentistry (£30,000), Veterinary science (£27,000) and Engineering and technology (£25,000).

Next steps

So if you are looking to recruit a graduate go to www.gradsouthwest.com/recruiters to post your job with us.  We will go the extra mile to get you great candidates.

If you are a graduate seeking employment in the South West then we have loads of jobs on www.gradsouthwest.com – so pop there and see what we have on offer!

 

Dr Deborah Watson, Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.

1Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education HESA report 2016.

Science and technology students should take every opportunity to enhance their employment

We like this blog post from HEFCE, written by , Chair, Wakeham Review of STEM Degree Provision and Graduate Employability, so much we copy it here:

“Two independent reviews show that STEM graduates need to take up every opportunity available to them in their degree and during their time at university to help to improve their employability and to get a rewarding job.

I have spent the last year leading a review into the employment outcomes of STEM graduates following concerns over poor employment outcomes among graduates from certain STEM disciplines.

A parallel, more in-depth, review was led by Sir Nigel Shadbolt and looked into the reasons behind poor employment rates for graduates from Computer Sciences. My own review has looked across the whole of STEM. 

Both reviews have a clear message: engagement and collaboration between universities and colleges, and employers and industry to meet the future needs of both industry and the economy is really important.

But there are further, equally important, messages for the individuals at the centre of these reviews – the students, who become graduates and employees of the future.

It’s clear that students need to start engaging with their careers at the earliest opportunity. This does not mean that they need to decide upon their career with certainty early on, but they must make themselves aware of the wide range of options available to them.

They need to take up the opportunities to explore careers available either within their degree programme or outside of it. They need to improve their employability, and be prepared to upskill and adapt to a career that may span 50 years and a significant number of technological and industrial changes.

What should we expect of higher education and employers?

The review gathered evidence from an online survey, focus groups and in consultation with a range of representative bodies.

The voice of employers was plain enough. They wanted graduates who were, to all intents and purposes, ‘oven ready’, or able to walk into the workplace and hit the ground running.

They wanted, in other words, graduates who understood the principles and foundations within a particular discipline, but also an ability to apply those principles to the ‘real world’ and to apply them in a way that fitted with their employer.

Understandably, the universities, colleges and students who also took part in the research had a different view.

They acknowledged that higher education providers should work in participation with industry and help their students to access opportunities, such as experience through quality work placements. But they also raised the responsibilities of employers.

Evidence from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) points to decreasing investment by employers in formal training – with a slight fall in the net number of total training days funded or arranged by UK employers between 2011 and 2013.

So are the expectations of employers unrealistic and what are the key messages for students in this mixed, often contradictory, body of evidence?

Experience matters

The headline statistics show that STEM graduates who completed a sandwich course have markedly better outcomes than those graduates who did not.

Similarly, those who completed an integrated Master’s degree programme have very impressive employment outcomes.

So the evidence suggests strongly that work experience matters. Students should take every opportunity to develop their experience of the work place.

Universities and colleges have a responsibility here to help their students access placements. Employers of all sizes also need to offer students more quality placements of varying lengths and formats.

But the teaching methods which form part of the curriculum can also help to develop those skills so valued by employers – such as team work and communication.

Students therefore need to understand and embrace the opportunities to work with their peers in group projects, or by presenting and communicating their work to representatives from industry or their fellow students.

Continuing professional development

Second, students need to commit to upskilling and continuing their professional development throughout their career.

Higher education providers need to make sure degree programmes are equipping their students with the tools to do this, but graduates should enter the jobs market with the expectation that their degree may only get them to a certain point.

For many STEM graduates, postgraduate qualifications are required to enter a range of some of the most rewarding roles. And employers here need to accept responsibility for training their employees, so that they can apply their vital knowledge to the benefit of their business and to the wider UK economy.

Finally, they need to give genuine time, effort and interest to opportunities to learn more about STEM careers – this might involve taking a non-credit bearing careers-related module at university.

The review has found that the reasons for the employment outcomes of some STEM graduates is more complicated than one headline statistic about what graduates are doing six months after they leave university might suggest.

Still, it has also found that there is a role and responsibility for students themselves in addressing some of the broader issues that the review has highlighted.”

If you want to see the original go to: http://blog.hefce.ac.uk/2016/05/17/science-and-technology-students-should-take-every-opportunity-to-enhance-their-employment/