By Claire West

To complement the summer showers, a downpour of graduates is now upon us as the 2008 class have recently donned their mortarboards and graduated from university. Even with the labour market slow down many organisations will be searching for the ‘perfect’ graduate, which is why the graduate unemployment rate is at its lowest point for 5 years. (5.6% compared with 6.1% for the previous year — 2008 Annual Higher Education Statistics Agency).

The attractiveness of graduates to organisations is well known, and documented reasons include advanced qualifications, proven ability to learn and apply new information and a greater awareness and knowledge of key subject areas.

However, those organisations that recruit graduates with the impression that they will be up and running with little support or development often come unstuck. Although graduates do have the extended knowledge on academic
subjects compared with none graduates they often have very limited work experience and so lack work-based skills.

Righttrack Consultancy, a learning and development specialist with over 20 years’ experience in designing and implementing work-based skills with a strong specialism in graduate recruitment, has reported an increase in the
number of clients requesting a suite of programmes to help support graduates in the workplace.

Kasmin Cooney, Managing Director, says, “Graduates can be amazing assets to any organisation and, if supported and developed properly, will be the driving force for future success

Often the mistake made by many organisations is that the development needed is further academic qualifications in their chosen subjects and, although this is required for continual professional development, work-based skills
that are really needed are neglected and taken for granted.

The last thing graduates want is to be back in the classroom as they are more than ready to get stuck in and kick-start their careers. It is for this reason why it is imperative that the learning they receive for business skills is impactful, innovative and more importantly fun and

Graduate training has moved a long way from lecture-based training and a popular approach is to incorporate experiential learning to help get the graduates out and about, experiencing their learning first hand.

The graduate recruitment cycle is not likely to slow down as more and more young people are entering higher education as the benefits are vast and regularly publicised; the Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell highlighted this by saying that gaining a degree helps individuals increase
their earnings capacity to over £100,000 accrued over a life time.