Posted by Conor ● 13 September 2018

Office For Students Call For Increase In Work Experience Opportunities

2 min read

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the Office for Students, has called on universities and employers to work together to increase work experience opportunities for students.

This comes after data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed:

  • 22% of graduates are not in graduate level employment six months after graduating
  • Even after 3½ years, 15% of graduates are not in highly skilled jobs

The statistics lay bare the significant number of students who are struggling to find a skilled and fulfilling career post-graduation.

Speaking at the National Graduate Recruitment Conference on 7th September, Ms Dandridge said:

"Research shows that graduates need to take up every opportunity available to them during their time at university to help to improve their employability and to get a rewarding job.

"It cannot be right that so many students – especially those in courses with little vocational element and those without the right networks – have no access to good work placements and or holiday internships while they are studying."

Ms Dandridge’s speech sparked high-fives and hoots around the office at RMP Enterprise HQ. RMP has been championing work experience opportunities since 2007, and her words reiterated the need for the expansion of such schemes.

Our own data, collected from the Top Undergraduate Employers highlights the advantages of getting undergraduate work experience. Last year, 54% of undergraduates that worked for the Top Employers returned as graduates.

To put it simply, getting work experience at university significantly increases a student’s chances of securing a graduate job.

Hiring undergraduates is also highly beneficial for employers. Research from the ISE suggests that former interns make better hires, stay longer and outperform their peers. Employers that invest in undergraduate talent retain the top talent, and it’s the best way to resource a growing business.

Ms Dandridge went on to say, ‘The Industrial Strategy calls for the Office for Students to encourage even greater collaboration between universities and business.’

Co-founder of RMP and early talent enthusiast, Oliver Sidwell agrees...

"I’m a huge advocate of work experience during university. It gives students a clear advantage ahead of their peers, with research showing that it positively benefits their grades too.

"Through offering first and second year undergraduates opportunities, both employers and students can treat it as an extended interview. Employers can further assess talent prior to offering them a full-time contract, building a pipeline of future talent. And for students, securing a role upon graduation is a huge weight of their minds to enable them to focus on their final year at university; it’s a huge win:win”

RMP will continue to work with all stakeholders, helping to provide students with valuable work experience, and employers with the top talent.


Topics: Undergraduate