1st March 2012

Reaction to the Wilson Review

We read with much enthusiasm the Wilson Review into collaboration between business and universities, after all, such collaboration is at the core of our activity. In fact, the title of chapter 6 “the interface between students, universities and employers,” could have been lifted straight from our website!

We were glad to see that whilst deeper partnership working between business and higher education was encouraged, it was also acknowledged that a one-size-fits-all model will not be possible. At Gradcore, we work with many different shapes and sizes of business and university alike, so we know all too well each relationship needs to be negotiated individually.

We also welcomed the comments about SMEs, and the fantastic graduate opportunities they offer graduates. Throughout the history of Gradcore we have tried to champion SMEs, and not just because we are one ourselves! Work needs to done to make these opportunities more visible and to ensure students know the SME route has equal status to the big grad schemes. This in fact sits nicely with a project we have in the pipeline, but that’s news for another day!

The review covers a whole range of ways to help maximise graduate potential from internships, volunteering, involvement of SMEs and social enterprises, specialised training and the integration of skills into degree programmes. It also mentions that careers guidance needs to start much earlier in education than university level. It is good to see such a well-rounded approach which brings together numerous organisations who all have a shared goal, to maximise graduate potential and of course have the residual benefits of more volunteers, greater SME exposure/social enterprise exposure and improved DHELI stats.

We hope this review serves to add to the excellent university-business partnerships that already exist and Gradcore will continue to work alongside universities and businesses to make sure the partnerships are as beneficial as possible. One thing we do think that is lacking from the report however is how a business, who has previously had no connection with a university would go about setting up a relationship. Because we know this is not easy (shameless plug!) we are holding a conference, #GEC12, on the 30th May 2012. Our conference attracts SME and national business leaders, graduate recruiters and higher education representatives, and provides a forum for the creation of strategy to ensure graduates leave universities with the skills needed to drive business growth.

All in all, if the recommendations in the review are taken up, this can only be a positive and I look forward to getting my hands dirty with businesses, universities and the LEPS to help make it work!