University not the only option says graduate association chief

The
head of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) says going to university
should not be an automatic choice for young people.

Carl
Gilleard, chief executive of the association, told the University and College
Admission Service (Ucas) conference that higher education should not be a
pathway stumbled onto by default.

He
said: "The pre-university experience is very important and great care must
be given when deciding whether to go to university.

"Schools,
colleges and universities should allocate more resources to working with
students to plan ahead and think carefully about maximising their
employability.

"Going
to university should not be an automatic assumption on the part of students,
parents or teachers."

He
said that young people need more information and guidance to make those tough
decisions, such as going to university, which university to attend and what
subject to study. 

Gilleard
urged universities to work with employers to offer students careers guidance as
part of the curriculum to facilitate a smoother transition from university life
to the labour market. He said graduates need to be prepared for the possibility
that they will not necessarily progress straight into a graduate-level job, but
will need to be flexible, adaptable and adopt short- and longer-term career
goals.

He
also recommended that universities give prospective students access to
information regarding the output of their course such as statistics showing the
jobs and salaries that former students have gained after graduation. This
should not be the only factor for choosing a university or course, he said, but
such transparency would allow prospective students to take the employment track
record of the institution into consideration alongside other factors.

www.agr.org.uk

By Quentin Reade

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