Many universities have made dramatic improvements to the skills element of academic programmes in recent years. So it comes as a disappointment that once again it is reported that graduate employers are expressing surprise and concern about the (lack of) employability skills of graduates emerging from British universities.
It is likely that in order for universities to make further progress, employers will need to play an even more active role in helping ensure that such courses are relevant to the workplace.
But universities must also play a much wider and longer term role in learning and skills development of individuals. We know that most graduates are likely to have many careers during their working lives, and so we need to move away from the idea of education as a single intervention for the development of skills.
It is for universities, employers and individuals to work together to create personalised skills packages fit for purpose and responsive to the needs of a 21st century employment market – and a culture where learning is lifelong, even if jobs are not.
This is a modification of a letter published in the Times newspaper