Higher Level Skills through Curriculum Development

A total of 50 Regional Action Plan Projects were initiated to support the work of the Programme in addressing its higher-level skills agenda. This focused upon two themes: Graduate skills and workforce development.

The call for proposals for these activities opened in September 2010 with projects beginning from January 2011. Within each Programme region, and led by the six university partners, participating higher education institutions were invited to submit proposals for projects that were responsive to regional and local issues. The short timescale framed the scope and extent of the activities.  Twenty-nine of the funded projects were identified as being specifically concerned with workforce development, higher-level skills and flexible learning.

An overview of the outcomes from this work can be found in the National HE STEM Programme final report. In addition, a series of reports were commissioned by the Programme to bring together the learning from this specific strand of activity:

 Resource Description
Investigating longer-term curriculum change and institutional impact within higher education Using the National HE STEM Programme and its projects as its basis, this report contains an independent analysis exploring how longer-term curriculum change can become embedded within the higher education STEM sector.  It examines influencers, enablers and barriers to initiating large-scale curriculum change within UK STEM higher education.
Lessons learned and achievements from the National HE STEM Programme higher-level and graduate skills development projects This publication reports on the achievements of the National HE STEM Programme activities concerned with higher-level skills, workforce development and graduate skills developments in the STEM disciplines. It takes as its focus activities funded through the Legacy Projects and Regional Action Plan Projects strands of the programme.
National HE STEM Programme higher-level and graduate skills development projects: A contextual compendium  This report provides a literature and policy review on employer engagement and employability developments in the HE sector that will be useful to anyone seeking to undertake and embed curriculum innovations or enhancements in either of these areas. It is designed to be read in conjunction with the document ‘Lessons learned and achievements from the National HE STEM Programme higher-level and graduate skills development projects’.
Virtual experiments: A good practice guide Virtual experiments vary hugely in complexity and development time. Making an effective virtual experiment requires a lot of thought and good planning. This document provides a guide through the key ideas and principles in developing an effective virtual experiment.
Part-time students in the workforce: A guide to practice in course provision A collaboration between five universities involved in providing HE STEM courses for part-time students in the workforce has produced this guidance on part-time provision aimed at those wishing to enhance existing provision or create new courses. The guidance includes approaches to key issues including range of provision, characteristics of part-time students, employer perspectives, delivery arrangements, support for part-time students, part-time students as a resource, flexible learning, tailored and work-based provision, the student view, challenges and barriers, and approaches to increasing participation.
HE STEM Employability Skills Review This report highlights many of the key findings that have emerged from various UK agencies and bodies actively engaged in understanding and articulating the needs of employers in strategically important but vulnerable subject relevant sectors of UK industry, in particular those reported gaps between employability skills expectations of employers and those articulated by graduates.
A toolkit for setting up credit-bearing placements to improve the employability skills of STEM students This toolkit is based on the results of a pilot study carried out in a higher education mathematics department to assess the impact of different types of work placement formats on the development of undergraduates’ employability skills. It provides practical tips, advice and suggestions for further reading to help STEM departments who are considering setting up credit-bearing placement schemes to improve the employability skills of STEM undergraduates.
Embedded employability: A guide to enhancing the university curriculum This guide aims to provide support to universities in the development of an employability agenda to close the gap between the skills needed for future business growth and the skills being acquired by current graduates.
Employer engagement: Case studies for adoption in the mathematical sciences This booklet contains 12 case studies each showcasing a different approach adopted by the university involved to working with employers to enhance the undergraduate curriculum in the mathematical sciences.
Commercialising innovation: An enterprise education module for STEM disciplines This enterprise learning module framework is intended to be adapted and scaled to suit the requirements of those seeking to implement it, or a variant of it, within a subject discipline or using a multidisciplinary approach. It provides a body of core teaching and learning designed to develop knowledge, understanding and enterprise skills associated with the commercialisation of innovation.
Embedded employability: A placement toolkit for STEM schools This toolkit provides a practical reference point for STEM schools wishing to develop their existing placement programmes or for those embarking on hosting such a scheme.  It is intended to be a practical guide and although the primary focus is to support a year in industry, many of the principles apply to shorter periods of work experience.
Peer Assisted Learning: In and beyond the classroom This report provides an information base for the implementation of peer assisted learning (PAL) within institutions. Although written to support the pilot that ran across three departments at the University of Bath it provides useful information about the resources needed to ensure that PAL can become a sustainable and effective tool for improving the learning experience of students.

Progressing from labour market intelligence to higher education level provision that is well supported by employers: A good practice review

This literature review formed part of a wider project that researched and tested different approaches to employer engagement within Higher Education specifically with regard to workforce development in the engineering sector and the development of higher level skills.

Making Maths Graduates More Employable: an enhanced role for tutors

This case study describes a project at the University of Greenwich that focused upon developing the skills, knowledge and confidence of teaching staff to enhance graduate level employment outcomes for students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.