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'Work Ready Graduates' launches to tackle graduate employability

Supported by Teach First, Work Ready Graduates is working with universities across the UK to develop the employability skills of students and graduates through offering bespoke training programmes. More than 300 students have registered to attend the inaugural sessions, which will be hosted today (22 October 2014) at Cranfield University.

Sessions at Lancaster University, University of Bedfordshire, University of Leeds and the University of Salford will follow. There will also be a pan-Manchester event in November at the University of Manchester for students at nearby universities spanning Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire.  A similar programme will run in Birmingham.

Work Ready training courses are designed to help graduates stand out, get jobs as quickly as possible and be successful in their early days of employment. Developed in collaboration with university careers professionals, they enhance skills developed at university by focusing on areas such as commercial awareness, negotiation, influential communication, business etiquette and self-confidence.

Leon March is leading Work Ready Graduates at Prospects. He explains: “As part of a feasibility study of graduate employers we found a significant skills gap between the graduates that they want and the candidates that they meet at interviews and assessment days.  We set up Work Ready Graduates to bridge this gap. But graduates who are better prepared for work is not just desired by employers, with employability rankings high on the university agenda institutions want this too. We’re delighted with the support that we’ve had so far and the number of institutions already on board.”

Kyle Burrows, chief executive at Propeller Training said: “While graduates have a high level of subject knowledge and expertise, employers are often dissatisfied with their work-readiness. This is where we can help, but this isn’t just about teamwork and communication, which are addressed at university. It’s about understanding your strengths and weaknesses, developing the right attitude and confidence, understanding the power of skills such as negotiation and assertiveness and how to use them in the right way to make a positive contribution to a business right from the start.”

Theresa Smyth, head of careers service at Cranfield University said: “By opening our doors to Work Ready Graduates we hope to help students better identify how well prepared they are for work and what they can do to improve their employability. This is about augmenting the university experience, to ensure that Cranfield is ahead and doing everything it can to boost the opportunities for its students.”

An advisory board of leading industry specialists, including Teach First, Association of Graduate Recruiters, AGCAS, Higher Education Academy and Higher Education Funding Council for England will provide strategic advice and direction as Work Ready Graduates develops.



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