Graduates at three West Midlands’ universities are among the most employable in the UK with 7,500 of them going on to support the region’s economy in the last year.
More than nine out of 10 students graduating from Birmingham City University, Coventry University and the University of Wolverhampton in 2015 were in work or further study six months after they graduated.
The three institutions joined forces in May to launch the West Midlands Combined Universities (WMCU) initiative to meet the demands of devolution.
The partnership brings together the institutions’ applied research and training expertise to develop skills and foster innovation across the region. It will provide the newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) with a powerful resource with which it can meet ambitious objectives around skills, employment opportunities and productivity – including the creation of over 500,000 jobs by 2030 and a targeted rate of growth to match that of the London economy.
According to the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey more than ninety per cent, around 7,500, of students at each of the universities are in work or further study six months after graduating.
A large number of these graduates remained in the West Midlands after they graduated, with the majority of those in employment in graduate level jobs in professional or managerial roles.
At Birmingham City University 93 per cent of students were in work or further study, with 70 per cent still in the West Midlands and 71 per cent in professional roles.
Coventry University had 94.5 per cent of students in work or further study, 51 per cent remaining in the West Midlands and 79 per cent of those in jobs employed in professional roles.
While at the University of Wolverhampton 96 per cent of graduates were in work or further study, with 80 per cent of these remaining in the West Midlands and 66 per cent of those who were employed in professional roles.
Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “Universities have a vital role to play in preparing young people for employment and equipping them with the skills they need for long and successful careers.
“That is why it so pleasing that so many graduates from our institutions secure employment after receiving their degrees, which can only be a good thing for this region.
“We know that the vast majority of graduates opt to stay in the West Midlands area, meaning that we are always increasing the skills and knowledge base of our workforce. But this is something we must strive to continue, to make sure we support the aims of the West Midlands Combined Authority and help plug the skills gaps we have in industries such as nursing and manufacturing.”
Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor at Coventry University, said: “We strive to boost our students’ career prospects through our links with business and by offering work experience opportunities, international placements and the like so it’s pleasing to see our high graduate employability rates year on year.
“Our efforts are paying off and it’s all the better that, a significant proportion of our graduates choose to remain here, living and working in the West Midlands. It’s great to have this talent on our doorstep, offering their skills up to address the needs of the region across different sectors and boosting its economy.”
Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We have had high employability rates for the last few years so to improve them further is an outstanding achievement by both our staff and students, resulting in the University having one of the highest overall employability rates in the country.
“We strive to ensure that when our students graduate they are work ready. This has involved embedding ‘employability’ in all of our courses with a much greater emphasis on the importance of placements, internships and volunteering opportunities. What is just as pleasing is that the majority are getting graduate level jobs with graduate level salaries and staying in the West Midlands to support growth and the regional economy.
“All three universities have a huge role to play in helping narrow the skills gap in the region as identified by the combined authority and ensuring our graduates have the right skills that industry demands is just the first step in achieving this.”
The WMCU will also support the devolved body’s stated priority of tackling a significant shortage of lower and higher end skills – particularly in the health and advanced manufacturing sectors – in a renewed effort to address the high level of unemployment (9.3%) across the region’s seven metropolitan authorities.
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Notes to editors
West Midlands Combined Universities (WMCU) website – www.wmcu.ac.uk
FACTS & FIGURES
- The West Midlands Combined Universities (WMCU) collectively span a region which encompasses three Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and seven metropolitan councils – bodies which themselves make up the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
- The devolved body WMCA covers:
- Birmingham City Council
- City of Wolverhampton Council
- Coventry City Council
- Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
- Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
- Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
- Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council
- Black Country LEP
- Coventry and Warwickshire LEP
- Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP
- The area covered is home to over 4 million people and has an economy worth £80 billion a year (GVA) through its 130,000 businesses and the 7 million jobs it supports.
- The WMCU comprises three universities representing the three core cities of the West Midlands. Between these universities there is:
- a total combined revenue of over £600 million;
- to be around £1 billion of combined investment in the region by 2021;
- circa 70,000 students and 8,500 staff in total.