Posted Wednesday 19 April 2023
Kingston University's sector-leading work embedding future skills throughout its curriculum has been hailed for its innovation by Shadow Minister for Higher Education Matt Western MP during a campus visit to learn more about the initiative.
The University is preparing students for career success through the roll out of a progressive new model of education designed to equip them with vital, future-proofed graduate attributes to support the country's economy. It comes after YouGov research commissioned by the University as part of its Future Skills campaign found problem solving, digital competency and the ability to analyse and think creatively were among the key skills most valued by business leaders. The University has since been championing the importance of skills for innovation and the crucial role they play in driving economic growth.
From September, all undergraduate courses at the University will incorporate self-diagnostic and future skills development sessions within first year modules. During his visit, Mr Western heard from the academic team involved in developing the Future Skills programme and spoke to students about how they have already been benefiting from pilot sessions running in recent months.
"This is a terrific innovation looking at the needs of students and employers, but very much centred around the individual – ensuring they leave the institution with the sorts of skills they will need for the world of work," Mr Western said. "It was a real privilege to hear first-hand, not just from the staff but the students as well, about how this programme has been developed and how it will be delivered – it's a very exciting initiative."
Third year business psychology student Raymond Okoliko was among the students who spoke about the value of the programme. He outlined how it was helping him develop the skills employers were looking for in a rapidly evolving world of work. "From problem solving to digital competency and collaborative working, it helps us to think about these skills in a different sort of way," he said. "I study psychological theories applied to the workplace, so can really see the benefit of future skills sessions and what they add to my learning. Having a module alongside what I'm taught on my course that emphasises different motivations and values has been so useful."
Also attending the session was Robert Westlake, one of the trustees of The Mohn Westlake Foundation, which has provided funding for the University's Centre for Graduate Success. The centre was set up to help ensure students from all backgrounds had the support, skills and opportunities to succeed once they graduate. "Making a difference to the lives of young people through education is one of the key aims of the Foundation and the Centre for Graduate Success at Kingston University is a great example of the power education has to change lives," he said. "Hearing directly from students about what they have learned through the Future Skills sessions and how this work will support their career journeys really brought home the importance of supporting such initiatives."
Equipping students with the skills for innovation needed to thrive in their careers was a key part of the University's Town House Strategy, informed by its research with major employers, the University's Director of Public Affairs and Insight, Jen Edwards, who also co-leads its Future Skills campaign, said.
"Welcoming the Shadow Higher Education Minister to campus provided us with a really valuable opportunity to demonstrate how we are delivering future skills for our students, as we get ready to embed our new model of education across the curriculum," she said. "As well as taking part in a taster session led by academic staff, he was also able to hear directly from students who have been taking part in our pilot modules about how beneficial this learning will be for their future careers."
Mr Western is the latest senior politician to visit Kingston University in recent months. Liberal Democrat leader and Kingston and Surbiton MP Ed Davey, Minister for London Paul Scully and Shadow Small Business Minister Seema Malhotra have also taken part in activities and sessions to find out more about the impact future skills is set to make on business, industry and the UK's workforce.
Find out more about the University's Future Skills campaign.