Conference to focus on producing graduates with skills employers seek

The University is enlisting the help of graduate recruiters and employer representatives to identify how its curricula can encourage students to develop the “soft skills” needed in the work place.

Academics and members of the Career Development Service are working with employers to explore how the characteristics that students develop during their course can enhance their prospects in professional employment.

The approach, which goes beyond simply providing placements and internships by embedding work readiness in the curriculum, will be the focus of the University’s third annual learning and teaching conference on June 30 entitled 'Beyond the Placement: Where Next?'.

From next year, the University is reforming its curricula to offer potential students the opportunity to study a major and a minor subject, alongside our existing single and joint honours degrees. Among the minors, which will make up a quarter of a course, will be options that highlight vocational competencies, soft skills, enterprise and entrepreneurship, ethics, and community engagement and outreach.

In order to provide a wider range of opportunities for students to develop important soft skills outside as well as inside the classroom, the University is also introducing a peer mentoring scheme, in which second year students will mentor first-year students, as well as a student volunteering scheme to encourage even more involvement in outreach and public engagement by University of Leicester students.

Professor Mark Peel (pictured), Leicester’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, said: "“Employers are more and more interested in soft skills, in a potential employee’s disposition as well as their knowledge. As well as being concerned with mastery of a field, they are interested in the kind of person the graduate is and in characteristics such as resilience, self-awareness, a global outlook, an ability to be self-reflective about future learning, and a readiness to make mistakes and undertake challenges.”