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Why embedding employability can help close the skills gap

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

The UK economy suffered its biggest slump between April and June, pushing the UK into recession.

Unemployment costs the UK around £2.4bn in unemployment benefits. In July, 537,000 16-24-year olds claimed unemployment-related benefits; an increase of 122% from March, when lockdown began.

Before Covid-19 rocked the world, young people aged between 15 to 24, were already three times more likely than their adult counterparts to be unemployed, according to a report by the International Labour Organization.

The unemployment rates for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds is even higher, with 30% of young black people and 26% of those from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds unemployed.

And with the UK government now entering a recession, in which by historical standards, unemployment levels for young people are extremely low, young people will be entering a dark age of low social mobility.

According to a report by the ONS, 543,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed from April to June this year, showing an increase of 28,000 from the previous quarter and an increase of 41,000 from last year.

It’s clear that today’s young people are at significant risk of unemployment. The result of the pandemic will particularly affect graduates leaving university in the next few years and those in the early stages of career progression.

Evidence from the Institute of Student Employers suggests that employers are already reducing the number of graduates they intend to recruit by 12% compared to last year. SME’s especially will be reducing the number of graduates they want to recruit.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has also warned that, based on data collected from the last three recessions, graduates will likely find it harder to find work and will start off in lower-paying occupations as a result. Graduates will also likely face increased competition and fewer opportunities.

Across the UK, many universities have already been working incredibly hard to support their students and graduates in a very stressful time.

Careers services have moved online, including recruitment fairs, internships and increased support for disadvantaged graduates.

Yet despite all this, the scale of the problem that young people will be facing means that increased support from both universities and the government is required to implement true employability for students.

40% of UK employers already say that a lack of skills is the main reason they are unable to fill entry-level jobs, so it is up to universities to fill the gap.

How embedding employability will help

So, how will embedding employability help? Embedding employability into your university curriculum will help strongly boost your graduate employability rates as well as increase students confidence for when they leave university in the current unprecedented economic climate.

Not only will students see the value of employability, but it will increase reach and access, particularly relevant for those from underrepresented groups who may not have the confidence to access their careers service or attend career events.

Graduates who have learnt core employability skills during their university studies are more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations than those who don’t.

There are various ways in which employability can be embedded, such as experiential learning to constructively aligning assessments which we can help implement into your curriculum.

At TG Consulting we view employability as providing graduates with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, experiences, achievements and characteristics as best as possible, no matter their socioeconomic status.

Every young person deserves the chance to discover their potential, and by embedding employability into your curriculum, you are one step closer to ensuring equal opportunity for all.

How we can help

Here at TG Consulting, we understand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for embedding employability into your curriculum.

To be successful in embedding high-quality employability for your students, requires a tailored approach, unique to your students and institutional needs.

We are experts in our field and provide a number of services designed to boost your graduate and student employability.

Whether you are looking for graduate and student training and coaching, help with embedding employability frameworks and models, individual programme analysis or an employability and careers service health check-up, we are here to help.

Want to find out more about our services? Check out our full list of services here.

Or get in touch with us via for a virtual coffee and a free initial consultation.

By Katie Watson, TG Consulting Intern

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