Showcase of opportunity for our young people

Thursday, February 11, 2016

This year’s annual South West Skills Show in June will provide hard evidence of the wealth of opportunity for young people in the region, says Pro vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England (UWE), Jo Midgley.

LAST year at the University of the West of England the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that nearly 100 per cent of graduates had jobs three and half years after graduation and some 96 per cent within six months. Much of this has been down to the number of opportunities opening up for students in higher skills in a buoyant regional economy.

The region’s aerospace order books, transport infrastructure, construction, low carbon industries and resurgent nuclear industry mean those interested in engineering in particular are in demand. Nationally the Perkins Report identified a skills gap of some 800,000 places requiring science, technology, engineering and maths (STEMsubjects) before 2020 with many thousands of those required in this region according to Engineering UK.

Furthermore, as we have heard much about already this year, an ageing population is putting more pressures on the National Health Service with the Government announcing the creation of another 10,000 new training places for nursing in this Parliament. Elsewhere the creative industries and health sector a real so crying out for skills with film directors due to descend on the city later this year for the annual Wildscreen and Encounters film festivals looking for new talent.

Biggest of all, the skill needs of the region’s professional, financial and management sector that dominates Bristol has led to the University of the West of England investing heavily in training for law and business with a £55 million building to be completed at the end of this year.

It all adds up to a huge number of good career opportunities for young people interested in those areas. To meet these skill needs UWE Bristol has setup a vast array of courses with employers and professional bodies that meet their needs and provide exciting study opportunities for students. In all the University offers some 600 courses, each designed to ensure students are equipped for strong and exciting careers. There are also many new ways of studying. 18 students graduated last November from Airbus and UWE Bristol in higher apprenticeships.

The government is also incentivising employers and universities to create Degree Apprenticeships particularly in STEM subjects and management. For those wishing to do their own thing there is also plenty of encouragement and support. Business Team Entrepreneurship is a new course with a ground breaking structure which enables students to set up their own business whilst at University and at the same time gain a qualification.

There are no classrooms, compulsory lectures or exams and the course has been described by experts as a revolution in management education. Later this year the university is also due to open one of the UK’s first University Enterprise Zones which will support fledgling enterprises.

In short there is a world of career opportunities and possibilities for young people which they will be able to explore at this year’s South West Skills Show or by exploring courses on the University’s web site

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