“A leading private sector academic has claimed that UK students will reject traditional degrees in favour of vocational courses that better prepare them for the needs of employers.
Professor Steve Lumby, Principal of LCA Business School, believes the recent fees shake-up will leave many public sector universities under huge pressure to offer a better return on investment by properly preparing their graduates for employment.
A recent survey of employers by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) found that employers believe students are not equipped for the working world. The ‘Creating Opportunity, Rewarding Ambition’ report collated responses from 40 employers employing more than 100,000 entry level workers across the UK. Sixty per cent of those surveyed cited “poor work attitude and ethic” as the primary reason for rejecting applicants, with only 29 per cent turning down applicants due to a lack of qualifications.1
Professor Lumby said: “There’s no doubt that many traditional universities have lost their way in recent years when it comes to offering employers what they need from graduates. Many employers say graduates simply lack the necessary skills to cope in a work environment and they often have to invest considerable time and money in knocking them into shape, a fact borne out by the recent CSJ report.
“Our students expect to be properly equipped for the work place because they are paying us to give them the relevant skills – there must be a bottom-line impact for students in terms of the ability to secure a job, otherwise they’ll wonder what the cash they poured into their education actually achieved.”
Successful entrepreneur Shaf Rasul – star of the BBC’s online version of Dragon’s Den – agrees that we must begin to place a greater emphasis on vocational education.”