Student

The skills gap – where organisations struggle to find skilled employees, particularly at graduate level – is well known and well documented. According to the Open University (@OpenUniversity), the UK’s pervasive skills shortage cost organisations £6 billion in the last year alone, as they bridged knowledge gaps through temporary staffing, increased salaries, and intense workforce training programmes.

But are the scary headlines really representative of what’s happening in the graduate recruitment market?

For us, they’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle. From our own work with universities across the world, we know that there are plenty of skilled and capable students and graduates out there, with bags of potential to make a significant impact in the working world. The problem is that they struggle to connect with employers, and on the flip side, employers struggle to engage with them.

We already know that the most prestigious employers recruit from a small talent pool, targeting a focused number of Red Brick universities through attendance at careers fairs, milkrounds and proactive engagement. And so, when organisations themselves are reporting on the perceived gap, it’s likely that many are simply not aware of the talent that exists.

It’s a problem that’s been exacerbated by the pandemic, too. While a move online should have levelled the playing field – allowing more students better access to more opportunities, it’s not always been the case. Disadvantaged students have struggled to access the technology needed to engage with employers online, and employers are in danger of swapping one set of closed networks for another. Indeed, our own research shows that businesses are still relying on recommendations from friends and colleagues (a form of online nepotism), even in the virtual world.

So, with a cohort of students who have the skills that are in demand, but do not have clear pathways to connect with industry, it’s clear that change is needed. Employers must do more to connect with students from a diverse range of backgrounds, and who have studied at a wider range of institutions. It’s not just the right thing to do – it makes good business sense. Proactively seeking out talent won’t just help to solve the skills shortage, it will fuel the workforce with more innovative and diverse ways of approaching issues.

And universities must play an active role in addressing this problem too, particularly in the face of COVID-19. We’re seeing many institutions embrace virtual careers fairs, which is positive news. We’re also seeing the careers services provide additional training and support on virtual recruitment practices, engage with employers for virtual events and to provide industry standard resources, as well as ongoing input into the curricula

So, we believe that as much as we need to address a skills shortage, we also need to look closely at the pipeline problem we have in the UK. Talent is distributed evenly, but opportunity is often not. For many students – especially those who may have been impacted by equality gaps – it is critical to close this gap between talent and opportunity. 

Handshake’s mission is to democratise access to graduate employment and we believe that the future is bright. Handshake has created an online community where students and prospective employers can connect, giving students visibility into the opportunities across industries and geographies, and providing employers with access to information about the skills and interests of millions of students and recent graduates.

Of course, this isn’t a zero sum game. Opening up recruitment networks doesn’t mean taking opportunity away from those students who are already accessing employment. By improving the way employers access student and graduate talent, we can close the skills gaps and drive more opportunity for everyone.

Handshake has undertaken and commissioned extensive quantitative and qualitative research to investigate the post-Covid jobs landscape and implications for employers, students and society. To download the report and have a closer look at the insights, simply click  here .

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

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Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

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If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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