Job Ready showcases examples of how universities and businesses are working together to create a positive impact on the UK economy and create opportunities for UK students and graduates to develop their skills.
Based upon extensive and in-depth interviews with other 50 employers including British Airways, IBM and Marks and Spencer, it captures a snapshot of the 21,000 interactions between businesses and University Alliance universities – the mission group to which Plymouth belongs – that are undertaken each year.
Launched at the House of Commons, with Universities Minister the Rt Hon David Willetts MP a guest speaker, Job Ready highlights the impact that Plymouth students have had upon Agustawestland and vice versa.
The helicopter company, which has bases in Somerset, Italy, Poland and the United States, takes a number of Plymouth students on year-long placements, providing four to six month stints in different areas of the business.
David Webber, Business Development Manager for Agustawestland, said: “I expect students to come in highly motivated, energetic and with a very good core base of up-to-date skills in terms of technology, computing and presentation skills. I also expect them to come with an enquiring mind because all of those skills are immediately applicable to the roles we put them into. After this, it’s the task specific knowledge that we are looking to provide for them. We’re looking for self-starters really.
“All the students I’ve worked with from Plymouth University have very much fitted that bill. They’ve all come with excellent core capabilities and core strengths, such that they have fitted into our teams immediately. I think there’s an element of resilience that they have because they’re coming into a working environment. And I’ve always been very pleased that they come to us to ask for more work, keeping themselves busy and getting the most out of their time with us.”
Plymouth University provides more than 12,000 placements for its students on an annual basis across all of its faculties. It is one of a number of ways the University helps students develop work skills and graduate ready for their careers.
“When working with Plymouth University students on any project the benefit to me is that they are so questioning,” added Martin. “The questions they come back with make us think twice in terms of why do we do it like that? It’s the open mindedness of the students that challenges us. That helps us to be innovative as a company. The Aerospace industry is understandably safety orientated and so to have a fresh pair of eyes helps to drive change, it makes us question.”
Libby Hackett, Chief Executive of University Alliance, said: “At a time when most of the employment growth in the UK?is in graduate-level jobs, those involving analytical, problem solving and complex communications, it is important that we ensure universities are working closely with employers.
“What we see is that by building close relationships, such as those described in our new report, universities and employers can maximise talent, plug skills gaps and create progression routes?for people from a wide range of different backgrounds. This is a core strength of Alliance universities, the leading universities for employer engagement. And for the employers who are committed to this it is not merely altruistic but is about their bottom line. Ultimately it is helping them to recruit the best people they can, to support their future business success.”