While graduates bring significant benefits to a workforce, a lack of competencies and skills important to succeed in a commercial world, is something that concerns businesses looking to recruit university graduates.
In its recent Local Skills Report, which looked at priorities for business and what action needed to be taken to ensure individuals and employers have the skills they need for future success, Buckinghamshire LEP identified the work readiness of young people as one of the key challenges.
Increased collaboration between employers and education was identified as one solution and so The University of Buckingham’s MSc in Applied Business Skills looks set to play an important role in not just meeting the needs of businesses, but in making University of Buckingham post-graduates an even more attractive proposition to potential employers.
The post-graduate course focuses on both studying the academic theories and models that support the competencies employers require and practical application of those skills. Modules include understanding the commercial world, innovation and enterprise, leadership, written and verbal communication, team work, organisation and planning, selling, technology, creativity and problem solving. Students also work on real projects with local and regional companies, alongside their academic studies.
Trevor Ray, who has a background in business and as a training facilitator, is a lecturer on the programme. He said: “I have seen this issue from all angles and I know that businesses often find with graduates that while it is clear they have an intelligent person with a good degree, they have someone that has little or no experience in the world of work; they lack the type of skills that enable them to do the job at the level at which they have joined the organisation.
“By the same token, that lack of skills can badly affect the confidence of a well-qualified young person if they struggle to translate their knowledge and ability into successfully running a team or project.
“Our programme allows graduates with a good degree to spend their Masters year gaining insight and experience into the kind of skills employers are looking for. It’s good for them, and we hope it will address the lack of skills that employers are citing.”
Isabella-Rose Noto began the MSc programme after completing her English Literature degree. Since starting the course, she has gained experience that has allowed her to develop a copywriting business.
Isabella said: “I studied English Literature because it is something I am passionate about. I didn’t want that study to go to waste, but I had no idea how I would use it in the world of work. Having started the MSc course, through work experience and the business skills I’ve learned, I’ve been able to find work as a copywriter and I’m hoping now that I will be in a good position to be able to set up my own business once I leave university.
“The great thing is that although the others on my course did different degrees, the basics of the course apply to all of us, but we can each take our own pathway through it, applying what we learn to whatever field we want to work in.”
Course Director, Nigel Adams, said: “One of our clear aims was to make this a programme that had wide application. Whatever the graduates studied for their degree, it doesn’t matter, the fundamentals of the programme are the same. It’s a combination of study and research at Masters level with work experience in a client’s business, so they get insight into the theories, combined with practical knowledge.
“And it’s not just about the commercial business world, the programme applies just as much to those who want to go into medicine, the arts or charitable organisations. Throughout the course they must reflect on their learning, make presentations and produce academic reports that provide evidence of what they have learned and what difference they have made within the business with which they have worked.
“And, of course, the businesses get something from that too, having an intelligent young person come in to help run a project, bring their skills and benefit from the experience, works for both sides. We’d encourage any organisation that feels they can offer support and experience to a post-graduate on the programme to contact the MSc Applied Business Skills team to find out more about how to get involved.
“For businesses in Buckinghamshire, it’s got to be an advantage, having a source not only of post-graduates with good degrees, but ones who have developed the skills to transfer their abilities into the world of work – what more could you ask for?”
Richard Harrington, CEO of Buckinghamshire LEP, said: “Buckinghamshire is renowned as the entrepreneurial heart of England and the new Masters in Applied Business Skills programme is exactly the type of initiative we want to see develop to support the next generation of enterprising graduates.”
The University of Buckingham is currently accepting applications for the MSc in Applied Business Skills to start in January 2022.
Find out more about the MSc in Applied Business Skills and the University of Buckingham at www.buckingham.ac.uk/humanities/msc/applied-enterprise or www.beiu.co.uk. The next university Open Days will be held on Saturday July 17 and Saturday August 7