[holding answer 24 October 2006]: There have been no discussions recently. But we continue to encourage and support developments in the HE sector that help UK graduates compete effectively in the domestic and global employment market.
Bodies like the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) and Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) help to articulate the demands of very diverse groups of employers, and the sector skills councils are providing a detailed picture of the needs within particular sectors of the economy.
In response, the HE sector continues to find practical ways to respond to the diversity of employers’ needs. For example, the Higher Education Academy and its subject centres have, with CIHE’s help, compiled Student Employability Profiles that map courses against the competencies and attributes graduate employers value when recruiting. Within subject centres there is active sharing of good practice in developing employability skills within degrees and other HE provision. Individual HE institutions are taking forward a range of measures designed to improve graduates employability, for example by introducing work placements, personal development planning or helping students to develop critical and interpersonal skills. In some cases employers are directly involved in the design and delivery of courses to ensure they will equip students with the necessary skills (for instance, the Ernst and Young degree in accounting, auditing and finance delivered in partnership with the Lancaster University Management School and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland).