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Student-led Employability Audit Toolkit

Lead Institution: University of Exeter
Collaborating with: Teach First, Nationwide, JP Morgan, Centrax, Airbus, Microsoft, RBS, Devon Education Business Partnership

Project Summary

Developing a student-led employability audit toolkit for HE STEM curricula

This project facilitated collaboration between students, graduate employers and staff in order to establish a set of criteria to enable an audit of the extent to which employability support was integrated within the University of Exeter’s Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering degree programmes. The criteria then formed part of an employability audit toolkit for HE STEM curricula, that could be used by other universities to benchmark their existing STEM programmes. The project also received additional funding to share its work with five other universities, who then undertook their own student-led employability audits of STEM curricula. 

The original project developed from recognition of the need for universities to develop ever greater engagement with graduate employers to ensure that the employment needs of both employers and students are met in a coordinated way within HE curricula. The project also sought to address the increasing pressures emerging from surveys, such as the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) and National Student Survey (NSS), to improve employability support within undergraduate degree programmes. It built on recent research from the ‘More Maths Grads’ project which recommended that universities redress the balance between skills and academic content in undergraduate mathematics degree programmes.

Aims & Objectives

The aim of the project was to:

Develop a student-led employability audit toolkit and to provide a framework for effective employer engagement in shaping HE curricula.

The project:

1. Compiled a report detailing existing employability-related resources for STEM students at the University of Exeter

2. Engaged with graduate employers in relation to the sets of skills they would like their graduate employees to have developed audit criteria via a student-led review of the extent to which students considered their degree programmes to provide them with the skills required in a graduate workplace

3. Undertook a student-led audit of the University of Exeter's Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering degree programmes using the criteria developed, making recommendations for improvements at module and degree level

4. Developed a toolkit that can support student-led employability audits of degree programmes at other universities

5. Secured additional funding from the National HE STEM Programme to support the development of student-led employability audits at 5 universities across the country

Staff involved

Dr Barrie Cooper
Project lead, University of Exeter

Abel Nyamapfene
University of Exeter

Amanda Arthur
University of Exeter

Amy Boylan
University of Exeter

Chloe Cunningham
University of Exeter

Dawn Evans
University of Exeter

Fiona Dyke
Teach First

Greg Craft

Holly Geipel
University of Exeter

James Baxani
Teach First

Jodie Sherman
JP Morgan

Julie Hawkings

Kathryn Edwards

Lee Stott

Mohit Malik

Paul Hartley
Devon Education Business Partnership

Richard Whinnett
University of Exeter

Rowanna Smith
University of Exeter