Roundup of workshop on skills for the emerging economy

Skills graphic from chapter 5 of Fit for the Future book‘Skills for the emerging economy’ was a lively and well-attended workshop held at the Observatory’s Annual Conference on 20th October 2009.

Steve Sawbridge, from the Association of Colleges, chaired the workshop, which featured presentations from Mike Beasley, Pat Jackson and Andy Phillips.

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Regional Skills Assessment 2008: key issues for individuals and communities

Student common room at Aston UniversityWe produce the Regional Skills Assessment each year, providing commentary on the changing labour market to inform the work of a wide range of organisations.

In this article, I’m highlighting key issues for individuals and communities from our skills assessment work in 2008.

There have been significant local and sub-regional variations in skills and labour market trends and issues in recent years. In particular:

Some parts of the region have benefited significantly from employment growth in recent years. There have been notable benefits in:

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The role of work placements in graduate retention

The Regional Observatory’s skills team have recently completed a major research project on graduate retention, attraction and employment for the Regional Skills Partnership and the West Midlands Higher Education Association.

One of the key findings is that 40% of graduates leave the region to find employment, especially in higher skilled, higher paying jobs in high value-added high technology industries and knowledge based services. Graduates from the Universities of Warwick, Keele and Aston are most likely to leave the region while those from Coventry and Wolverhampton Universities are most likely to stay.

The research also found that graduates who take part in work placement activity are much more likely to stay in the region. They have forged links beyond the university campus and are more likely to have got beyond the stereotypes of what the region is like as a place to live and work. Continue reading