Vocational Degrees Bridge Skills Gap Between Employer Student
Monday, 25 July 2011
A leading private sector academic has claimed that UK students will reject traditional degrees in favour of vocational courses that better prepare them for the needs of employers.
Professor Steve Lumby, Principal of LCA Business School, believes the recent fees shake-up will leave many public sector universities under huge pressure to offer a better return on investment by properly preparing their graduates for employment.
A recent survey of employers by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) found that employers believe students are not equipped for the working world. The 'Creating Opportunity, Rewarding Ambition' report collated responses from 40 employers employing more than 100,000 entry level workers across the UK. Sixty per cent of those surveyed cited "poor work attitude and ethic" as the primary reason for rejecting applicants, with only 29 per cent turning down applicants due to a lack of qualifications.1
Professor Lumby said: "There's no doubt that many traditional universities have lost their way in recent years when it comes to offering employers what they need from graduates. Many employers say graduates simply lack the necessary skills to cope in a work environment and they often have to invest considerable time and money in knocking them into shape, a fact borne out by the recent CSJ report.
"Our students expect to be properly equipped for the work place because they are paying us to give them the relevant skills - there must be a bottom-line impact for students in terms of the ability to secure a job, otherwise they'll wonder what the cash they poured into their education actually achieved."
Successful entrepreneur Shaf Rasul - star of the BBC's online version of Dragon's Den - agrees that we must begin to place a greater emphasis on vocational education.
He said: "It's vital that our education system continues to adapt to the demands of business and industry and delivers the next generation of graduates who can hit the ground running when they begin their career.
"I have employed countless graduates within my businesses and those that stand out in the recruitment process are the candidates who demonstrate vocational skills. There is nothing more frustrating than getting someone who ticks all the boxes academically, but simply lacks the nous and skills to cope with the demands placed upon them in the workplace.
"I would recommend that students entering higher education consider a career-focused degree as that will no doubt help them set themselves apart from the competition to secure employment following graduation."
Research collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) states that 20 per cent of new graduates were unemployed during the third quarter of 2010.2 With a renewed media interest in the education sector following the Government's recent White Paper on Education, students now face difficult decisions on the nature of the course they undertake whilst considering the attached fee.
With the white paper granting new powers to set their own fees, many educational institutions are opting for the top tier of £9,000.
LCA Business School has however capped 2012 fees for its business focused courses at £4,500 and the structured learning schedule has been designed to allow students to study two days a week, enabling them to gain valuable work placements and part-time employment, creating the opportunity to graduate debt free.
Full-time courses can be completed in either three years or by a fast track two year route. LCA Business School is also introducing an accelerated two year degree that, when combined with a third year program, leads towards a professional accountancy qualification (ACCA).
Professor Lumby added: "Private institutions such as LCA Business School are at a competitive advantage following the White Paper because we have always been much more commercially-focused. The LCA model of teaching for two full days each week, allows students time to work part-time, gaining valuable experience whilst learning.
"Latest figures show that graduate unemployment is a continuing problem, however our career-focused courses are designed to make students work-ready through meeting employer needs. We are dedicated to which maximising every LCA Business School student's employability."
1. 'Creating Opportunity, Rewarding Ambition'
2. 'Graduates in the Labour Market'
NOTES TO EDITOR
The London College of Accountancy was founded in 2000. It received a Queen's award for Enterprise in 2006 and 2010. LCA has now launched a degree level Business School in Central London overlooking Farringdon tube station and Smithfields.
The privately run business school offers accredited full-time undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications in a selection of business focused courses.
With graduate debt in mind, LCA Business School has competitive tuition fees (£3,375pa-£4,500pa). And the structured learning schedule has been specifically designed to allow students to undertake part-time employment and keep graduate debt to a minimum.
Full-time courses can be completed in either 3 years or by a fast track 2 year route. In 2011 LCA Business School will also introduce an accelerated 2 year degree that leads with a 3rd year programme to a professional accountancy qualification (ACCA).
Total LCA Undergraduates 2010-2011 - 1,500; Postgraduate 1,000
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