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IAG News round up

WonkHE report that the current status of undergraduate applications to UK universities for 2017 entry is down just over 10% across the sector, affecting Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the board. Official statistics have not been published as yet, but this is obviously a cause for concern for HEIs if this pattern continues into January. Are students leaving it later to make their decisions realising that during clearing it becomes more of a buyers’ market as increasing numbers of courses are advertised and entry requirements drop? Or are ever increasing fees turning minds towards alternatives to the full time three year degree model of study, including degree apprenticeships? There are also less 16-18 year olds in the U.K. than in previous years which may have. We will provide an update on applicant numbers in the next IAG newsletter.

Degree apprenticeship developments continue to dominate the news. Of particular interest is the announcement of the launch of new nursing degree apprenticeships, announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. The first apprentice nurses could be working on wards from September. It is predicted by the government that once the programme is established, up to 1,000 apprentice nurses could join the NHS each year. A significant number of our college BTEC and Access to HE Diploma learners apply each year to nursing (and midwifery and related allied health professions courses) and need to be made aware of this new progression pathway. However, it is important to note that it appears that the new nursing degree apprenticeship appears to be targeted at those already in employment in patient facing roles, rather than new entrants to the NHS. We will be watching this development closely here at Linking London. On a more practical note, Amazing Apprenticeships continue to develop a range of student focussed resources. Check out the latest videos on higher and degree apprentices who are working in marketing, law, construction and pharmaceutical research.

At the beginning of this month the Department for Education published Longitudinal Earnings Outcome (LEO) data which links graduates with employment, benefits and earnings information. The data links HMRC’s tax records and other sources to education data to give an accurate picture of individual graduate earnings. A detailed report focuses on using law graduate employment data as a pilot to get “user feedback” ahead of a planned spring 2017 release of graduate salary data by subject and institution. This will feed into the ongoing debate about graduate earnings linked to institution and subject studied which will undoubtedly impact on students HE choices in the future. It’s likely that the data will be used in the future in university league tables as well as being incorporated into the TEF.

Finally, there are two very interesting articles have appeared in The Guardian recently, that argue that there should be a change in focus when advising students to get them to think in terms of skills development and flexibility over a lifetime, rather than focusing on specific jobs. In a working world where young people will increasingly change jobs and careers multiple times, and where it is estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today will work in jobs that don’t yet exist, traditional, linear career advice, they argue, is no longer relevant or helpful. Both writers draw on the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) series of reports called The New Work Order, which explore the economic forces (automation, globalisation, collaboration) shaping the future of work and the transferrable skills and capabilities required to survive in the changing world of employment. They raise some very interesting points and I plan to explore this in more detail in a new article in the new year. Until then have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas break and hope to see you at the next Linking London IAG Practitioner Group Meeting on the 12th of December.

This article is part of the Linking London IAG newsletter, published monthly, which provides the latest IAG insight, policy, news and events. If you are a Linking London member and would like to subscribe to the mailing list, or if you would like to find out how to become a member, please send us an email

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