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 was relevant and timely. This project built 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 considered:
- 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?
We have published two reports highlighting the key findings from the commissioned work and events held during this project.
We commissioned two projects.
- Graduate Skills: Students Views
- Graduate Skills: Graduate and Employer Views
These projects worked together to analyse the views of current students, graduates and employers on the skills developed by students at higher education institutions in Scotland, and to 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 led the Graduate Skills: Students Views project. The team brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise on the development of graduate skills and attributes in higher education.
Their exciting approach to research and engaging students in the project helped us to analyse the views of current students on the skills they are developing through their studies. We 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.
Graduate Skills: Graduate and Employer Views
Tweetchat and Events
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.
Sharing practice event
This event celebrated good practice and allowed delegates to share current approaches to graduate skills development. This well attended event included 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.
- Shaping strategy event - Welcome and introduction (PDF, 2.11MB) | QAA Scotland
- Employers' and Graduates' views on Graduate Skills (PDF, 0.62MB) | University of Edinburgh
- Student Views on graduate skills (PDF, 1.07MB) | University of Glasgow
- Languages beyond university: Community engagement in schools (PDF, 1.80MB) | University of Edinburgh & Edinburgh City Council
- Gaming for graduates: How video games can develop graduate attributes (PDF, 3.96MB) | University of Glasgow
- Creating the learner experience framework (PDF, 048MB) | University of Strathclyde
- Universal graduate attributes: The 7i model (PDF, 4.73MB) | University of Aberdeen
- Employer engagement and education development (PDF, 2.13MB) | University of the Highlands and Islands
- Reflection: A key graduate skill (PDF, 0.30MB) | Abertay University
- Levelling the internship playing field: Supporting student skills development (PDF, 2.04MB) | University of Dundee
- Vacation jobs for undergraduate engineers (PDF, 1.89MB) | University of Strathclyde
- Skills into Scotland (PDF, 0.25MB) | Glasgow Caledonian University
- The learning journey in, through and out of creative arts programmes (PDF, 0.48MB) | Glasgow School of Art and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- Scotland's HE Innovation and Enterprise agenda | The Scottish Institute for Enterprise, Robert Gordon University and University of Aberdeen
- Employability mentoring: How it affects Widening Participation (PDF, 0.66MB) | Queen Margaret University
- The future of graduate skills: An international perspective (PDF, 1.37MB) | Dr Simon Barrie, Western Sydney University
Shaping strategy event
The 'Shaping Strategy' event was a summit for senior colleagues from the sector. Leading figures from higher education and government joined 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 challenges.
- Shaping strategy event - welcome and introduction (PDF, 1.80MB) | QAA Scotland
- Understanding and enhancing the digital skills landscape (PDF, 0.88MB) | Jisc
- Graduate skills: Shaping strategy (PDF, 1.80MB) | Ryerson University
- The future of graduate skills - an international perspective (PDF, 1.37MB) | Western Sydney University
- Regional, tertiary, networked, graduate skills for employment (PDF, 1.00MB) | University of the Highlands and Islands
- Student mobility and employment (PDF, 1.50MB) | University of St Andrews
- State of the nation: Graduate skills in Scotland (PDF, 2.80MB) | University of the Highlands and Islands
- Working collaboratively for a better Scotland (PDF, 1.92MB) | University of Strathclyde
- Automation, people and the future (PDF, 1.46MB) | University of Nottingham