2018-03-12

The Graduate Employability Agenda; What Role is the Regulator Playing?

With the OFS regulatory framework launched in 2018, we take a look below at what the OfS has been doing in the space of Graduate Employability and what the future employability agenda looks like.

To further explore graduate skills and employability join the Office for Students (OfS) , Advance HE, HSBC and others at the Graduate Employability Conference 2020 on 24th June 2020 in Central London.

The Office for Students (OfS) released the much anticipated new regulatory framework under which it operates as the regulator for higher education in England from April 2018. The regulatory framework has offered key guidance on how the OfS will carry out its role and the conditions for registration by higher education institutions.

Here’s what the regulatory framework had to say on the employability agenda within higher education:

A Regulatory Objective

The OfS sets out progression into employment and further study as one of its four core regulatory objectives. The framework highlights the aim of ensuring qualifications hold value over time to support students of all backgrounds into employment.

Informing Student Choice

The OfS will collect and deliver information for students to inform decision making in the options available within the higher education sector. This information will also have an employability focus with the OfS publishing information on student outcomes, as well as the needs of employers to guide students when considering university and course opportunities.

Furthermore, the OFS will monitor the Institute for Coding (IoC) and the £20 million the government has invested in setting the IoC up, with the OFS stating that they see this is as a key part of their work to improve graduate employability within the field of digital skills and in particular for under-represented or disadvantaged groups.

Collaborating with Employers

The framework outlines a commitment to collate information and data, in coordination with employers, to ensure that the higher education sector is able to effectively meet the needs of industry at both a national and regional level.  In particular the OfS seeks to ensure student choices are informed by the higher education skill requirements of employers and industry.

Following on from this the OFS announced a £5.6 million fund to boost local graduate opportunities through developing effective links and training routes with local businesses and employers. This follows on from 2015-16 data that shows that 69 per cent of graduates first go into employment within their home region.

A Performance Indicator

Graduate employment and student progression will act as one of the OfS’ lead indicators into the performance of HE providers. The OfS will regularly analyse data from providers and other sources on student outcomes with student transition to professional jobs and postgraduate study acting as a key measure of an institution’s performance.

Conditions of Registration

A central condition of registration under the new framework is for all providers to deliver successful student outcomes, with a particular focus on skills that are valuable to employers or enable postgraduate study. Graduate employment will be a key indicator of the extent to which providers are succeeding and the views of employers in the value of a particular course or institution will also be a feature in considering whether an institution is delivering for it students.