Posted Tuesday 22 November 2022
A group of senior Liberal Democrat MPs has visited Kingston University to find out more about how the institution is preparing students for career success through a progressive new model of education helping them develop future skills.
The University has been highlighting the importance of skills for innovation to the national economy as part of its Future Skills campaign, which has found problem solving, digital competency and the ability to analyse and think creatively were among the graduate attributes businesses most valued.
Kingston and Surbiton MP Sir Ed met with staff and students at the University's flagship Town House building to discuss the campaign's latest research and see first-hand how it was now embedding future-proofed skills across its courses. He was joined by the party's business spokesperson, Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney, and education spokesperson and Twickenham MP Munira Wilson.
Instilling future skills teaching across the curriculum through the newly launched Navigate programme is a central part of the University's Town House Strategy. The programme is being piloted this year, before being rolled out more widely across the institution. From September 2023, all undergraduate courses will incorporate self-diagnostic and future skills development sessions within first year modules.
After speaking to students taking part in the pilot and staff involved in its delivery, Sir Ed praised the work being done to ensure students across the University were prepared to meet the changing needs of industry.
"It was fantastic to hear about the amazing Future Skills research Kingston University has been doing," he said. "The University is now applying those lessons for the student experience to help people navigate through higher education, work in a multi-disciplinary way and take those life skills through into the world of work and the world beyond the University."
First year music technology student Francesca Williams outlined the importance of the personal development elements of Navigate for her chosen career during the session. "It's very important to know your worth," she said. "We may become freelancers, we may work with a company – either way it's all about networking, knowing how to talk to people in the right sort of way and developing the resilience to overcome setbacks."
This was echoed by Laina Deene, a graduate intern within the University's Careers and Employability service, who was part of the panel of students and graduates sharing their experiences with the MPs. "One of the best parts about the Navigate session is taking students out of the context of their own subject and being able to talk about the wider career world and also about themselves," she said.
Bringing parliamentarians to campus to show them how the University was putting the findings of its Future Skills research into practice had been an important opportunity to demonstrate the value this new model of education could have for the economy, University Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier said.
"Our Future Skills reports have clearly shown what businesses say they need to meet the challenges of the future. We have taken the results of that and are weaving that into how we teach and what we teach our students so they are fully prepared for the future world of work," he said. "Introducing this work to three of our local MPs and giving them the chance to speak directly to our students demonstrated how we are delivering the Future Skills agenda both for our students and for industry."