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HEFCE Increasing opportunities for high quality HE work experience 13 th May 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "HEFCE Increasing opportunities for high quality HE work experience 13 th May 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 HEFCE Increasing opportunities for high quality HE work experience 13 th May 2011

2 Contents Summary outcomes and impact of the HEFCE ‘UGIP’ and ‘GI’ schemes Key findings/observations from the schemes and wider research Potential recommendations and conclusions Objectives Brief overview of impact of HEFCE schemes Provide wider observations and recommendations Elicit Advisory Group and other feedback to incorporate in final report

3 Definitions and scope: ‘high quality HE work experience’ Work experience placements during university years – students Internships within 1-2 years of graduation – graduates ‘High quality’ = ‘structured’ o Deliberate aim of employment-/employability-related development Scope excludes: o Part-time ‘subsistence work’ o Employer-hosted projects with no employment/employability aim o Student volunteering o School/college level work experience

4 HEFCE UGIP scheme: Outcomes 852 vacation placements within 26 HEI schemes Variety of models used (‘lean’ and ‘intensive’ approaches) Broad interpretation of ‘professions’ (many in employment sectors with a culture of offering placements/internships) ‘Intensive’ schemes mostly used existing employer contacts; but overall 2/3 employers were SMEs ‘Social mobility’ focus – aimed to target undergraduates with lower access to internship opportunities (e.g. socio-economic background or disability) Nature of undergraduate participants: o Only 16% stated that they did no paid or voluntary work o Around a third had prior structured work experience o c.45% of participants from non-professional occupational backgrounds o Higher participation by those with ethnic minority background Very positive experiences (a third offered extensions to their placements)

5 HEFCE UGIP scheme: Impacts Extended the range of students taking advantage of WEX opportunities Positive reported outcomes: employability skill development; confidence; confirmed interest in career within professional sector Increased ‘footprint’ of engaged employers 55% of employers ‘more likely’ to offer work experience to undergraduate students (especially SMEs and ‘first timers’) For HEIs, raised awareness of work experience in relation to Widening Participation agenda across teaching departments Tested different models for development of work experience placements

6 HEFCE Graduate Internships: Outcomes c.8500 internships for graduates within 55 HEIs Variety of approaches in engaging employers and supporting/managing internships Targeted SMEs and employers in 7 ‘NINJ’ sectors o Half of employers were within the target NINJ sectors o 91% were SMEs (81% ‘small’) o Only 14% had previously offered graduate internships (22% UG placements) Graduate participants (target was ‘recent’ graduates): o 1/3 unemployed and 1/3 only temporary work since graduation o 2/3 had not applied for other internships o Higher achievers academically than average (78% 1 st or 2.1) o High attempted participation by graduates of ethnic minority background * o Somewhat lower participation by STEM degree graduates

7 HEFCE Graduate Internships: Impact for graduates Of the graduates that had completed internships: o 28% secured long term employment with the internship employer o 18% had secured other long-term employment o 15% were unemployed Strong reported development of certain employability skills Greater confidence in future job applications and confirmation of potential career choices Fewer than 7% saw little long-term benefit/impact

8 HEFCE Graduate Internships: Impact for graduates Percentages of participants with different employment circumstances: graduates who had completed internships (in blue) and those who had been unsuccessful with applications (in red)

9 HEFCE Graduate Internships: Impact on employers Almost half believed they would offer graduate internships in the next 12 months (far more than the 14% which had previously offered internships) 71% reported ‘more likely’ to offer an internship to a recent graduate (but most would be dependent on some financial support) High proportion of very positive experiences and surprise at value of recent graduate o New energy, opinions and fresh insights o Additional capacity for project or other work o ‘Subsidised’ model enabled higher-risk projects to be undertaken o Many hired the intern in a long-term post o Small number of negative experiences related to individuals not concept

10 HEFCE Graduate Internships: Impact on HEIs Large number of new employers engaged Significant number of graduates supported All HEIs very positive about offering similar opportunities in future, but only 10 (of 53) would do so without similar funding provision Raised profile of graduate support and internships as a response to HEI employability strategies Practical impacts – added new recruitment agency capacity to careers services (or other units) and expect to continue it as a service to employers

11 Impact of HEFCE schemes – overall The schemes increased the numbers of opportunities available from employers – no substitution other than overlap with Step UG offer Existence of employer subsidy introduced many new SMEs Enabled overall increase in participation by students and graduates, with distinct widening of UG participation Funding enabled HEIs to provide a higher level of job-related and learning support to students / graduates Significant increase in engagement between employers and HEIs Some increase in awareness of teaching departments in relation to WEX and employability support, and collaboration with careers/employability units Raised expectations about the long-term availability of support for such schemes

12 Wider findings (1): Lack of extent data Lack of widespread or reliable data with which to estimate the extent of different types of work experience (as noted in 2001) Restricts understanding of proportion and range of students/graduates undertaking ‘high quality’ work experience (or type/range of employers offering opportunities) – and potential strategies A national audit mechanism across HE would be preferable HESA data enables much greater understanding of sandwich course students and trends (and impact) Incremental new questioning, using specific WEX typologies, within DLHE survey would contribute substantially Could provide empirical data for publication in employability statements alongside other employment outcomes

13 Wider findings (2): participant motivations

14 Wider findings (3): employer motivations

15 Barriers to participation: employers Employers of graduate interns – main perceived barrier is cost, followed by capacity to plan/recruit, and effort to supervise the intern o all these relate to perceived value o note some schemes offered little/no subsidy to employers ‘Experienced’ employers more concerned about level of effort required for recruitment and supervision of graduates, and lack of technical knowledge o these may increase with genuine experience Employers of UG students on placements – timing, duration and level of support required are identified as biggest barriers ‘Culture’ of sector is significant Inconsistency of offer (and messaging?) is unhelpful Note multiple education/social sectors seeking employer WEX opportunities

16 Barriers to participation: students/graduates Financial support (remuneration) not apparently a key issue, but interviews revealed it was often very significant ‘Culture’ within academic department (evidence from sandwich courses); number of opportunities and take-up are inter-related Fee level imposed by HEI during long sandwich placements Easier to take up subsistence work (with previous employer) than to obtain new ‘structured’ placement o relates to perceived value as well as rate of pay Evidence that proportionally higher attempted participation by ethnic minority graduates is not resulting in higher achievement of internships (needs further investigation) Overdemand for graduate internships results in competition for vacancies based on academic attainment and prior work experience

17 Increasing opportunities/participation BIS/HEFCE schemes (including GTP & ECIF) have helped to start a ‘culture change’ amongst employers and HEIs Employers need encouragement to offer placements or internships to a wider range of students or graduates For graduates: Increase opportunities through overt interventions which provide financial incentive or other support, to encourage new employers Expand activity in specific sectors with less current ‘culture’ of internships (GTP has had impact) For undergraduates Expand placement activity by further financial support or logistical support to enable more employers to develop new opportunities Increase level of structure of current ‘unstructured’ work experience – use existing frameworks such as EFWE or NCWE, and embed benefit in study programmes.

18 Increasing opportunities Mechanisms to overcome barriers for employers include: Use of seed funding to ‘open doors’ to employers – does not have to be the full remuneration cost of the intern/placement student; could be broader ‘reward’ or incentive not straight subsidy Schemes and models which minimise effort for employer in relation to recruitment, employment and supervision; including secondments Establish wider/national platform(s) for placements in order to promote opportunities to relevant applicants (GTP exists for internships) Provide information to employers (particularly SMEs) on the benefits of offering work experience, communicated from sources they already access Range of models to fit different circumstances (low-risk entry methods for first-time employers, varying lengths and modes) Consistent support and messaging.

19 Increasing participation Priority for interventions should be at undergraduate level Help to embed / encourage ‘work experience seeking’ behaviour in students – and its impact on increasing confidence and employability on graduation Encourage wider variety of placement model to suit greater diversity of students and study modes Provide additional support for students with less social/cultural capital to obtain first work experience placement Provide frameworks to students organising own (unstructured) work experience in order to raise level of structure and deepen benefit Graduate internship market is more mature and commercial – supply of vacancies is the over-riding issue, not level of participation, although widening participation may require overt intervention.

20 Sustaining participation Embedding the work experience ‘agenda’ within programmes of study, as part of drive for enhanced employability Major issue of financing future ‘supported’ models/approaches which appear to be needed to widen participation amongst employer types and range of students/graduates Some HEIs made use of finance from commercial activities to fund additional places on the HEFCE schemes The HEI funding formula could be revised to ‘reward’ those that boost take- up and availability of work experience placements Unleashing Aspirations report recommends drawing down of student loans and additional micro-loans to support work experience placements / internships Reduced fee levels during longer term (sandwich) placements

21 Potential HEFCE role Shape data collection and how the results are presented Work with industry bodies to develop messages to encourage employers to offer internships and work experience placements – focus on cost/benefits (value) appraisal Consider/evaluate options to aggregate information on UG WEP vacancies via a national platform (along the lines of the GTP for internships, and the proposed national scheme in Australia, for example) Work with NUS, teaching departments and careers advisory services to develop and embed frameworks for students to ‘structure’ their own work experience

22 Feedback Advisory Group feedback on findings, recommendations and conclusions Comments for final report

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