University of West England (UWE) Bristol has maintained its strong position for graduate employment according to the latest figures on graduate destinations. The latest Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education figures, published by the Higher Education Statistics Authority, show that despite the recession and a very challenging year for graduate jobs, unemployment levels among UWE graduates only went up by 0.1% from 6.6% to 6.7%.
This compares with a rise in unemployment of graduates from English universities as a whole by 1% to 10%.
Head of Careers at UWE Bristol, Maggie Westgarth said, “This is a hugely positive picture for UWE. Having the 12th lowest unemployment percentage among Universities in England puts us ahead of most of the sector, including some Russell Group Universities.”
The HESA figures show that 63.9% of 2011 UWE graduates in employment were in graduate level jobs six months after graduating. The percentage of graduates from UWE opting to go on to post-graduate and further study has risen to from 15.7% to 17%, compared with a level of 18.8% for 2008/9 leavers.
Recent research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters shows graduates are facing record levels of competition for jobs. Some large employers are reported to be receiving an average of 83 applications for each job, almost double the numbers of two years ago, and nearly treble compared with three years ago.
Employability is likely to be a growing criterion of choice for prospective students and their parents. Universities and colleges will be expected to publish Key Information Sets on their websites from September 2012. KIS will provide comparable sets of information about undergraduate courses on key criteria including employment and salary data, making performance between HEIs more visible to applicants.
Maggie continued, “UWE is already addressing employability in a number of ways. Many courses now include innovative enterprise modules, work-based learning modules or work placements. UWE is also running a large internship programme supporting students to get high quality paid work experience with employers. New activity this year will include hundreds of employers and entrepreneurs in the region career mentoring UWE students and supporting student-led enterprise activity.”
Kate Brooks, Associate Head of Creative Industries said, “Students often return from their work placements as different people – in the space of a few weeks, students become better communicators, more organised, confident, resilient, and able to work independently. The upshot is that they are better prepared to get a graduate job and to succeed when they enter the workplace.”