Belfast Telegraph

More graduates than ever find work or continue education

The proportion of graduates going on to work or further study after leaving university has reached a record high.

But official statistics also show that the likelihood of a student gaining a job or continuing their education does depend on the university they attended.

Overall, 94.3% of full-time UK undergraduates who finished their degree last year (the 2015/16 academic year) went on to the workplace or further study, according to data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

This is a higher proportion than at any point in the past five years. In 2011/12, it stood at 90.8%.

Data before this point is not comparable, according to the HESA.

A breakdown shows that in England alone, 94.2% of this group of students went on to employment or further study in 2015/16, while in Wales it was 94.7%, in Scotland it was 95.2% and in Northern Ireland 94.4%.

The figures do show differences between universities.

In England, the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama had the lowest proportion of full-time UK undergraduates going on to work or further study at 84.6%.

This was followed by Bolton University at 85.5%.

Overall, there were 11 universities and specialist institutions that saw less than 90% of its UK leavers go into the job market or continue their studies in 2015/16.

Among Russell Group institutions - considered among the best in the country - Queen Mary, University of London, had the lowest proportion at 90.9%.

At the other end of the scale, the data records that there were three institutions in England where 100% of leavers went on to work or further study last year. These were all small specialist colleges; Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Academy of Music and Courtauld Institute of Art.

There was also one in Northern Ireland, Stranmillis University College.

All of the figures cover students who responded to the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey, which gathers information on what graduates have gone on to do around six months after completing their degree.

A Queen Mary spokesman said: "This is disappointing news, particularly after last year's dataset (for 2014/15) recorded an outcome of 94.2% in employment or study six months after graduation.

"QMUL prioritises employability development with all students, offering access to careers support from day one.

"We are particularly well recognised for our innovative placement programmes, such as the award-winning QConsult (student consultancy to SMEs) and QProjects (project work in East London charities).

"We also run our own employment agency and mentoring scheme, and have a dedicated enterprise programme for student entrepreneurs.

"More than 1000 of our students build their experience of work through one or more of these activities each year.

"We will be reviewing these results as a priority, and will use the findings to put further plans in place for next year."

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