Career education, information, advice and guidance in Higher Education

A new report from the  QAA,  A “code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education.  Section 8: Career education, information, advice and guidance” – has been released this month. Designed to update previous practice from 9 years ago it does cover some interesting areas and emphasises the key aspects of good CEIAG to students in Higher Education. Increasingly the issue of unemployed, and underemployered graduates, is going to gather more momentum, especially after this years crop of graduates comes out of the university sector seeking fulfilling careers whilst news of cost reductions in all sorts of areas, echo around them. The main area bearing the costs now will be the public sector, which is facing large and ongoing reductions in funding. Some companies have cancelled or reduced their graduate intake and this is unlikely to get any better for the next year of so at least. The reports dual role of ensuring that students beginning courses obtain the CEIAG they were expecting is combined with a secondary target, to ensure that the HEI can produce graduates to meet the labour market both for today and tomorrow. It does mentioned fluctuations in this labour market and it will be interesting to see what this document causes to be added to the work HEIs are already doing in this field. such projects as Birmingham University’s Future Proof Graduate program http://www2.bcu.ac.uk/futureproof is food for thought. Can we rely on all universities being able to offer similar work, indeed how far should they go along an employability route, does the type of university matter in this respect ? Russell Group or Million+ , Oxford University or Oxford Brookes ?  Of course those students studying HE courses at the local college are another factor again, what support is given in terms of IAG to this increasing number of students ? As is often the case, more questions that answers currently. If you want to read the report you can find it at this link  http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/codeOfPractice/section8/Section8careereducation2010.pdf

‘Quietest’ building in the world opens today

The new centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information opened today at the  University of Bristol. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2009/6531.html This is a fascinating area and I thought I’d share some Nano resources for careers work with you. http://www.nano.org.uk/index.htm is a useful site, with info on this area from a UK perspective, http://www.icpc-nanonet.org  combines info for EU, China, India and Russia in one area, but the most interesting is a Free Nanotechnology Course from  http://www.glennfishbine.com/course.htm. This has powerpoints, pdfs and all sorts of interesting stuff you could use to raise awareness.   In addition if you are interested in visiting the quietest building in the world you are in luck. At the weekend it is the Bristol Open Doors event http://www.bristoldoorsopenday.org/ when you could take a look for yourself. Why not take a trip !

Reflections on Clearing…and the future for Graduates

This has been a strange time. Those sections of the media most scathing about the mass influx of young people into Higher Education have been outraged that suitability qualified young people can’t get into University.  We have had the somewhat traditional “Qualifications arn’t what they used to be in my day” leader articles or news reports. This has included our local radio station interviewing a local employer who finds current graduates so very poor he now recruits from Warsaw University instead. I’ve also had the contents of this article about a young man who was awarded a certificate for getting on a bus  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1206444/Boy-gets-exam-certificate-catching-bus.html#comments mentioned more than once, although it is interesting it gathered 247 comments on this one website, let alone the other papers which reported it.  We’ve also had the spectre of no jobs for graduates mentioned in the press this month. Again recruitment of graduates  does seem to be far more mixed than some of the press reports would lead you to believe.  As someone who has been through recessions before, this is not unusual. However the press coverage would lead you to believe that there are not any opportunitys for a graduate in the UK…well maybe I exaggerate slightly. I’ll be glad when the press have some more news to get their teeth into. Thought that Dr Wendy Piatt of the Russell Group made some valid points when she was interviewed about this issue. Also there is an interesting blog posting by Charlie Ball of HECSU about Graduate employment issues at the HECSU blog http://hecsu.blogspot.com/2009/07/labour-market-gloom.html

10,000 extra university places – but no money to teach them

Currently the 10,000 extra Uni places are bring promoted as part of the governments response to the pressures that people believe we will experience when Clearing comes around. However the fact that the Unis will not be getting any teaching grant will have an interesting effect on who will actually be offering such places. On the one hand those universities who traditionally recruit students through clearing might well feel this could help them, whilst those who recruit fewer, if any, students via this route might feel less inclined. Obviously this has not escaped the notice of business people http://preview.tinyurl.com/FT10000Places. Indeed if you look at Annex B from HEFCEs letter http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/circlets/2009/cl15_09/ which shows which Unis are getting the extra places it does tend to support this concern.  I understand this is because some of those Unis who are not taking any additional students claim it is because there income would be reduced by £5,000 per student under this initiative, and they do not feel they could manage to maintain undergraduate quality in this case without undermining their work. Powerful words and it will be interesting to see how this might be countered by those Unis who do manage to take on these extra students.

Explore Higher Education and see the world !

Sometimes you just wonder if there is more out in the big wide world than you are aware of. This can be about holidays, people, and places to visit or, as this is a blog about Higher Education, universities! You may have heard about the Russell Group of universities in the UK, comprising 20 research intensive institutions which have quite a high media image, but have you heard of their equivalent in other countries? Such as the Australian ‘Group of Eight’, the Canadian ‘Group of Thirteen’, the American Ivy League institutions or the Universitas 21, which is a group of universities from 11 countries?   There are other groups of Universities in the UK, such as the 1994 Group and the Millions+ group of course, but these are not shown on this map…yet

Apart from being useful to know in case these questions ever come up in a quiz they can help you be aware of the wider world of HE which you might want to consider. Some degrees in the UK can include time abroad as part of your study. Some uni’s may have links with other institutions abroad which you could benefit from. If you like league tables, of which there are many, the QS World University Ranking lists even more.

Normally this would primarily be of interest to those who like long lists but a helpful fellow in Germany has plotted the location of the Top 100 universities in both the QS World University Rankings and the Shanghai Jiao Tong exercise on a friendly, interactive Google map to be found here. http://www.university-rankings.net . All the other university groupings mentioned above can also be viewed on this website.

Interested in Higher Education ? Make this a regular stop !

Welcome to this, the first Blog aimed at all of those people who provide or support HE Advice to the pupils/students in your area. This blog came out of the Institute of Careers Guidance (ICG) Higher Education Advisers Community which has been created and supported by Andy Gardner. It is based on the need for those of us who work in this area to have one resource which is ours and covers the whole field of HE, but from the perspective of a Careers Adviser. However everyone is welcome here, you do not have to be an adviser to find something useful and interesting here. You may work in Secondary, or Primary education and want to know how best to raise the aspirations of your pupils to consider Higher education, you may work in an FE college or a 6th form and wish to keep abrest of this area, or indeed you might be working in an Higher Education Institution (HEI), but would be interested in seeing what is happening in this general area. Everyone is welcome and can contribute or comment as they see fit. But this is also a blog for the public, so if you are a parent or guardian, an employer or just an ordinary member of the public you are welcome to look in as well.  My prime aim in this blog is to promote the benefits of Higher Education for individuals, businesses and the economy of our country. Of course the fact that it can be interesting and intellectually stimulating is a bonus !