How do you know when students are ready to learn?

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Having run our Bright Futures ‘Time for Change’ national event and annual awards many things have struck me, one of which was their great quality talent and the other how keen they were all to learn.

There is a huge amount of research and work being done in Higher Education about students, the issue of employability and the fact that students focus on building their Cv and job hunting at so many different times during their time at University – and this then creates the challenge of identifying who those individuals are, especially for employers, so that the scarce resource available can be used to the greatest effect .

Too often students are given the ’employability message’ at times when they are just not listening. And anyone who works with students, especially those undergraduates who fall into Generation Y, should know is that they will do what they want to do when they want to do it – they really won’t be told! 

So who are listening?  Bright Futures committees and members are undergraduates who have made a conscious decision to join Bright Futures, and come from the 1st, 2nd and final year. They know getting a degree is no longer enough, they want to develop their skills and what to network with employers to ensure they apply to & ultimately join the right company – Bright Futures gives them all this. Our Bright Futures Societies are not just ready to learn but want to learn. And judging by the comments from the corporates who attended our event I know who they will invest their time in developing.



3 thoughts on “How do you know when students are ready to learn?

    Jim Turner said:
    June 25, 2008 at 10:17 am

    In many respects a lot of what you have discussed here and in previous posts are problems right at the heart of public perception that surrounds higher education. Higher education – as the name itself suggests – is viewed by many as an extension to sixth form. One mother recently said to me that her son would ‘almost certainly go to University’ and that he had accepted that University was ‘a given’. I don’t think this is necessarily a problem, but it is important that future students start recognising the real benefits of going to University at school rather than at University – so that it doesn’t become a ‘given’.

    There are numerous ways to address this problem, but the key area is career advice, which is handled poorly in the UK. All to often do we see career advice being given by people who don’t understand business and have no sector experience. In some ways career advice is about inspiration and imagination, there are thousands of jobs out there and they don’t all require degrees, but because future students haven’t had the chance to explore their options, they fall into higher education. If instead students thought about their future earlier – with the support of career advisors operating at LEA level – we would see students make better choices much earlier.

    Higher Education itself needs to be doing more undoubtedly, but higher education is really about delivering education to a higher standard rather than offering career advice. It is – again by definition – academically driven, and it would be wrong to remove that, but improving links to the business world is a positive step. It may even be worth tying some subjects to business lectures, what is wrong with KPMG talking to Finance Students or the Labour party talking to Politics students?

    You mention ‘Generation Y’ but I’m not sure I buy into that theory, I think there is increased competition for good graduates so therefore good graduates demand more. It’s a supply and demand argument rather than a psychological one.

    Interesting ideas nonetheless.

    Jim Turner
    Regional Associate
    Barclays Global

    simonreichwald responded:
    June 25, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the comment. Following an event I attended last night at a University they seem very focused on reshaping their ‘offering’ to really address the issue of employability and developing skills of the UK workforce but, and very importantly, see and know that engagement with and through employers is key to the delivery of this aim.

    So let’s watch this space!


    Denesia-graduate career search said:
    November 2, 2008 at 12:45 am

    In many respects I agree with Simon. The graduates who takes a proactive approach in their own graduate careers by making every effort to network with and seek out employers, build their resumes and cv’s are the ones that will ultimately succeed and the ones that employers want to hire. It’s an issue of accountability. We are a generation of individuals who have become dependent on others and are always looking to blame others for our own lacking. If we can’t get the job we want, then we say that the career councelors didn’t prepare us enough; if we don’t know how to write a good Cv then we look for someone to blame instead of getting out there and take responsibility to learn. I am taking my own graduate careers search into my own hands and by seeking out help from career services and programs like Bright Futures, you are guaranteed to succeed.

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