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Graduate Employment

Volume 542: debated on Thursday 15 March 2012

6. What steps he has taken to encourage universities to publish data about the employment of their graduates. (100023)

Improving student information on employment to support informed choice is at the heart of our university reforms. From this September, the new key information set will provide the information that students say they want, including on graduate salaries and employment. Going to university improves job prospects overall, with 84% of graduates in employment compared with 67% of non-graduates.

I thank the Minister for his answer. Speaking as a history graduate who went on to be an entrepreneur, I should like to know whether he has a view on why only 3.5% of graduates set up their own business in the first six months after leaving university. What can we do to increase that figure?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that we ought to be doing better on this, and that was one of the tasks that we set Sir Tim Wilson, who has just produced his excellent report. We are doubling the number of enterprise societies to which students have access and we want every university and college in the country to have an enterprise society that helps students know how to do what my hon. Friend did.

While visiting an engineering company in Luton this week, I was told yet again that companies are finding it hard to recruit British engineering graduates and are having to take graduates from overseas. Are the universities simply not producing enough engineering graduates, or are graduates going to other jobs and working overseas?

We are seeing an increase in the number of engineering places in universities, which is very important because it is just what the British economy needs as it rebalances. There is also a challenge on where engineering graduates go, and we of course hope that more of them will work in industry. As we see manufacturing in Britain strengthening, as it is under the coalition’s policies, I am sure that more recruits will go into industry.