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Employer Perspectives 

Page history last edited by Norman Jackson 14 years ago

Graduate Recruiter / Employer Perspectives


Chair Carl Gilleard, CEO Association of Graduate Recruiters 

John Morewood, Senior Graduate Recruitment & Development Manager, HSBC BANK PLC

Louise Punter, Chief Executive of the Surrey Chambers of Commerce

Bob Athwall, Head of Graduate Schemes at RWE nPower

Alexandra Hemingway, University of Surrey, Reporter


Report of panel discussion and break out session




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We live in a very uncertain and perpetually challenging world in which the pace of change and the demands on human agency and identity are continuously increasing. The current recession is a direct manifestation of the cause and effects of a globally connected world where business and political decisions in one part of the world can have profound economic consequences for the rest of the world. The reshaping of business and public institutions has only just begun and many people will have to reshape their lives as a result. We need to be providing education that not only prepares graduates for their first job but also enables them to adapt to continuous and rapid change and to be resilient in the face of major setbacks, like the loss of a job.


Simply studying a subject in an academic way will not prepare you for the real world so many universities are also paying attention to what students do outside their study programme and trying to integrate these experiences and the learning and personal development gained from them students’ higher education learning enterprise. We glibly use the term learning to learn but people learn to learn in many different contexts and situations by themselves. It is what makes people who they are as whole people with the agency to transfer and adapt their learning from one situation to another so they can deal with it.


Many institutions are, or have developed, schemes to recognize and value learning and increased self-awareness through the things that students do in addition to their academic programmes (co-curricular or extra-curricular awards). Successful completion entitles a student to some form of certification but the real value is perhaps in their enhanced knowledge about themselves and the creation of a portfolio of evidence or stories of their learning and personal development which they can use to demonstrate their qualities, skills, capabilities and attitudes to future employers. The Government is also saying that employers need more explicit information about informal as well as formal learning. Through the work of the Burgess Committee, it has proposed a Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) as a means of providing this additional information. But many people in Higher Education are not convinced that employers will use such information, preferring to define for themselves the information they need, in the forms they need it, in order to make a judgement about the potential of person who is applying for a job. The relationship of HEAR to the information provided in co-curricular and extra-curricular awards is worthy of examination.


In this panel session which is sponsored by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, three business representatives will give short presentations on their perspectives on the benefits of students engaging in life-wide learning in order to better prepare themselves for the professional work environment. They will also reflect on the value, implications, opportunities and challenges afforded by extra- and co-curricular Awards – especially in view of employer needs for good quality information about student capabilities.  This will be followed by a chaired open forum. After the session there will be an opportunity for people interested in this topic to continue discussions in a break-out session.


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