The Mix of Graduate and Intermediate-level Skills in Britain: what should the balance be?
The recent rapid growth in graduate supply in Britain has contributed to a sharp increase in employment of graduates relative to people with intermediate (craft- and technician-level) skills. This substitution process is being driven by changes in demand as well as by supply factors. However, recent evidence of employer difficulties in recruiting graduates suggests that concerns about 'quality shortcomings' in some graduate job applicants - in particular, lack of practical work experience and commercial understanding - reflect a continuing demand by employers for the skills and knowledge that are most easily acquired through employment-based intermediate skills training. The article considers various ways in which employment-based training could be more closely integrated with higher education courses in order to expand the supply of intermediate skills while still recognising the desire (and ability) of many intermediate-level people to eventually qualify as graduates.
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