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What is Focus On?


QAA Scotland's Focus On projects help the sector address recommendations and commendations from Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR). Focus On ties these outcomes to developmental activities, resources and events that the whole sector can get involved in. Projects last one academic year (from October to June). We try to focus on the most practical things that can help colleagues make a real difference in a short space of time.


Why graduate skills?


With debate on apprenticeships and skills high on the agenda in higher education, Focus On: Graduate Skills is relevant and timely. This project builds on our previous work, including the Graduates for the 21st Century Enhancement Theme.


We identified topics relating to graduate skills in Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) Outcome Reports and in our Thematic Report on Employability and Graduate Attributes. We then consulted Scottish higher education institutions and students’ associations to identify priority areas. As a result, the project will consider:

  • Readiness for Employment: how can we most effectively embed skills inside and outside the curriculum, including digital skills, for graduates from all disciplines?
  • Equality and Diversity: how can we support students from all backgrounds and characteristics to develop skills that will help them to secure and sustain success in the workplace?
  • Global Perspective: how do we ensure that all Scottish graduates are enabled to live and work in a global society, and that the Scottish sector is informed by global developments?
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Research projects

We have commissioned two projects. Outcomes will be shared in the summer of 2019.

  • Graduate Skills: Students Views
  • Graduate Skills: Graduate and Employer Views

These projects will work together to analyse the views of current students, graduates, and employers on the skills developed by students at higher education institutions in Scotland, and will answer the following questions:

  • What is the sector doing well, and where could it do better?
  • How is the sector ensuring that appropriate digital skills are developed by graduates in all disciplines and subject areas?
  • How is the sector ensuring that all students (irrespective of background and different characteristics) are able to access the full range of skills development opportunities offered in higher education?
  • How is the sector ensuring that graduates are equipped to live and work in a global society?

Graduate Skills: Students Views

A team from the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art will lead the Graduate Skills: Students Views project. The team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise on the development of graduate skills and attributes in higher education and will include:

  • Dr Maxine Swingler (Lecturer in Psychology)
  • Dr Archie Roy (Careers Manager)
  • Anna Rolinska (Lecturer in English for Academic Study)
  • Dr Maria Gardini (Lecturer in Psychology)
  • Scott Kirby (Vice-President of Student Activities, SRC)
  • undergraduate and postgraduate researchers.

Their exciting approach to research and engaging students in the project will help us to analyse the views of current students on the skills they are developing through their studies. We will present this material in a way that helps individuals, institutions and the sector as a whole develop new policies and practices in this vital area.


Introduction to the student views research project

Publication Date: 08 May 2019

Graduate Skills: Graduate and Employer Views

AGCAS Scotland (The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) will lead the Graduate Skills: Graduate and Employer project. The project lead is researcher Shelley Morgan, who will be supported by AGCAS Scotland’s professional network of HE careers and employability practitioners. AGCAS will work with all Scottish Higher Education Institutions to deliver the project.


Agcas Scotland logo

University careers services have a strong track record of delivering creative and increasingly evidence-driven initiatives to support students’ skills development, increasingly in partnership with employers. Through this project, AGCAS Scotland looks forward to shining a spotlight on perceptions of graduate skills and showcasing best practice in skills development. The project outcomes will contribute to existing work and inform future debates around graduate transitions to employment and their preparedness to live and work in a global society.

Shelley Morgan, AGCAS Scotland

Sharing practice event

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This event was designed to let colleagues share ideas and practice, and to and provoke debate and reflection around graduate skills development in higher education in an open and supportive environment. It was attended by around 100 delegates including staff and students from institutions in the UK and round the world and representatives from sector bodies. We started the day with an update on the two projects described above, which set the tone for a robust and detailed conversation about what we mean when we say ‘graduate skills’ and how we can best help our students to develop them. To read more about the day, check out our Wakelet of the event.



Sharing Practice event - Welcome and Introduction

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


Focus on: Graduate Skills - QAA Scotland research projects

Graduate and employer views on graduate skills

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019

Student views on graduate skills

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes

Embedding skills in the curriculum: New approaches to developing graduate attributes

Languages beyond university: A course offering community engagement in local schools

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019

Gaming for graduates: How video games can develop graduate attributes

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes

Graduate Attributes frameworks: Institutional and universal models for skills development

Creating the Learner Experience Framework: A refreshed approach to developing graduate attributes

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019

Universal graduate attributes - The 7i Model

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes

Engaging employers: Enhancing skills development through partnership

Employer engagement and education development – A collaborative approach

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019

Reflection: A key graduate skill

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes

Work-based skills development: Making the most of placements and internships

Levelling the internship playing field: Supporting student skills development

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019

Vacation jobs for undergraduate engineers

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes

Learning journeys: Joined-up approaches to recognising skills development

Skills into Scotland - A national process for the recognition of skills of those educated overseas

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019

Understanding the learning journey in, through and out of creative arts programmes

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes

Equality and diversity: Creating opportunities for all

Scotland’s HE innovation and enterprise agenda

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019

Employability mentoring: How it affects widening participation and non-widening participation students

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes

Keynote - Professor Simon Barrie

The future of graduate skills - an international perspective

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes
The global goals

This video was shared by Professor Simon Barrie in his presentation, and sets out goals for sustainable global development, and how the world could change if these goals were met.


Shaping strategy summit

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This event was an opportunity for a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the future of graduate skills in Scotland; our approach in an international context; the future challenges we face; and our readiness as a sector to meet these and take action. The outputs from the day are designed to contribute to policy direction in the Scottish HE sector. We were joined by 60 delegates including institutional policy-makers, international speakers, and representation from the Scottish Government.


Contributors



Shaping Strategy event - Welcome and introduction

Publication Date: 21 Jun 2019

Understanding and enhancing the digital skills landscape turning insight into capability

Publication Date: 21 Jun 2019




The future of graduate skills - an international perspective

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes



Regional, Tertiary, Networked Graduate Skills for Employment

Publication Date: 21 Jun 2019

Student Mobility and Employment

Publication Date: 21 Jun 2019


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visual minutes



State of the nation: Graduate skills in Scotland

Publication Date: 21 Jun 2019

Working collaboratively for a better Scotland the role for higher education

Publication Date: 21 Jun 2019

Automation, people and the future

Publication Date: 28 Jun 2019


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Visual minutes

Focus On: Graduate Skills tweetchat

On 5 December 2018 QAA Scotland guest-hosted the #LTHEchat on the subject of 'Graduate Skills'. We used this tweetchat to ask a series of questions about how higher education institutions and providers can better support student to develop the skills they will need to thrive in their lives and work following their studies. The whole conservation was captured on Tweetchat.

Resources

Employability and Graduate Attributes: Thematic Report update 2018

Publication Date: 05 Nov 2018

Employability and the austerity decade

Publication Date: 17 Jan 2019

Thinking strategically about employability and graduate attributes: Universities and enhancing learning for beyond university

Publication Date: 17 Jan 2019

Employability: Analysis of materials on Student Transitions Map

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2019

What is topical/emergent in Employability?

Publication Date: 17 Jan 2019

Enhancing research-teaching linkages as a way to improve the development of employability attributes

Publication Date: 17 Jan 2019