APPG March Meeting Minutes


Meeting on March 23rd 2016

Chloe Smith MP

Robin Walker MP

Michael Tomlinson MP

Danny Kinahan MP – APPG for Education

Baroness Steadman-Scott

Daniel Bradshaw – Office of Lucy Powell MP

Jim Shannon MP


Rayner – Milkround

Francesca Hall – Milkround

Nasmin – Plimco Academy

Lin Proctcor – Plimco Academy

Lauren Mistry – Plotr


Pam Murray

Kieran Murray

Christina Stone – Pearson Education Board

Francis Augusto– London Youth

Ruth Carter – OCR

Laura-Jane Rawlings – Youth Employment UK

Steve Isherwood – AGR

Sam Gordon – AGR


Welcome and Introductions

Chloe Smith welcomes attendees and speakers.

Notice of future meeting dates and events coming up (see agenda)

Monthly youth unemployment stats

ONS Quarterly Stats – Youth unemployment 13.7% up from 13.6% (October – December), down from 16.2% last year.

Lowest level was 11.6% in 2001 and highest level 22.5% in 2011.

Discussion –

MT – What has led to the small increase?

CS – Seasonal work, may have had an impact. Lots of seasonal workers would have finished their roles in the New Year.

LJR – Also some issues with SFA funding of 16-18 traineeships, money has been confirmed now but there was a hold up.


CS – Invited speakers to begin their presentation



Steve Isherwood, Chief Executive of Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) and Sam Gordon, Analyst of AGR


AGR is an employer led association, funded by employer members. It is an impartial organisation helping members understand and respond to the changes in the market and make it work more effectively.


Over 300 members from 17 sectors, recruiting in all regions. 26,000 grads, 12,000 apprentices and 6,000 interns have been recruited by AGR members. The focus of AGR is the structured end of the school leaver/graduate market.


Employers are investing more, more opportunities, vacancies are up across the board this year. Bigger increase in apprenticeships (est 24% increase), 3.7% increase in starting salaries. 13.2% increase in graduate hires in 2015.


It is tricky employers to find the right talent. Ave 65 applicants per vacancy, but 45% of employers couldn’t fill vacancies in 2014.


Most employers don’t care what the degree is 75% of employers don’t state what degree they want.


In other countries the market for pathways is so much more structured, this creates opportunity in the UK.  Young people in other countries are making choices so much earlier.


Organisaitons are concerned over being hit by the levy.


Employers are interested in school leavers as retention is greater, growing own skills.


Expect to see more employers adopt a mix approach to their talent sourcing.


Around ½ members employ apprentices and ¾ in school leaver. Members invest a lot to hire the right talent ave. cost £3k per hire. Marketing entire institutions so changes the approach of employers.


In a recent AGR Survey employers said that more than 80% of graduates lack the skills of Managing up, dealing with conflict and negotiating. But employers would expect that and plan to train young people with these skills.

Problem solving, communication, teamwork, most graduates have these skills.


Managing Up – ability to build relationship with their manager


  • LM is the onus on the graduate?
  • Sam – often these skills are not discussed at university so graduates should not be expected to know what employers look for.
  • SI – Need young people to be experienced in meaningful work experience
  • BDS – Is there any evidence based on maturity, it’s a pretty key relationship with your manager, does this need to put into schools?
  • LP – What do you mean by self-awareness
  • Sam – There is a difference between presentation skills and self-awareness. It means the ability to understand themselves.
  • CS – Do you have year on year data?
  • Sam – This is the first time this data has been done.
  • SI – We are talking about graduate market; which is not quite accurate as its sector specific.
  • Sam – Gaps in skills training. Most employers are investing in the skills and bridging the gap.
  • LJR – Is it the employability or the technical skills employers are having to train?
  • Sam – Most grads have some level of skills. 2/3 technical and 1/3 soft skills
  • SI – Anecdotal – An engineering degree is not linked to employment. Academics may teach what they like/what their specialism is. Real disconnect. Warwick University teach 2 years general engineering and then a specific year.
  • Sam – Employers looking to invest early. Pay their internships. Interns more ready for work. More than 1 advantage to being an intern. Interns stay longer.
  • BDS – Do internships get permanent roles?
  • Sam – No only about ½ – due to employer and intern. Selection process is the same again.
  • SI – Different sector by sector – Banks are different they look to offer as many interns a possible.
  • BDS – Be interesting to find out if the same applied to apprentices.
  • SI – Members say yes. That’s why they want to invest. Employers looking to grow school leaver offer as the ROI is stronger.
  • Sam – On ave grads stay 4 – 5 years (longer than the 2 years we hear about) from an employer point of view they are not building long term workforce – senior managers
  • SI – It does still vary, some employers keep grads for much longer.
  • LY – Is there a referral solution for a grad to move from employer to employer?
  • SI – There is in the engineering sector, there is work going on in the sector to develop the talent pool
  • LJR – Education white paper will look to do this with teachers
  • CS – Will the apprenticeship levy have an impact?
  • LP – Does the 2 years then apply to young people who take on jobs. Rather than graduates?
  • Sam – There is evidence that having a programme and clear progression path retains the graduates. Why employers lose graduates – Slide refers to the share of employers who have had grads leave. – Higher salary 2/3 employers had grads lead. ½ employers have had grads leave as they thought career progressing too slowly.
  • CS – Is someone considered a graduate for two years?
  • SI – The number of years a graduate depends on the role – lawyer, accountant.
  • Sam – It is important that young people get careers information so that they are in the right career.
  • RW – Is this changing?
  • Sam – The story that graduates don’t stay is not true?
  • LM – Are these schemes for young people 5 years after graduations?
  • SI – the law won’t allow employers to state new grads. But grads tend to self-select, grads want to be rid of the mantle. In the US strong culture about recruiting ex-military.
  • MT – New APPG on veterans. To help veterans sign up to opportunities. Also plug for constituency careers fair. 15th of April in Wimborne Dorset.
  • FA – Any identify within your statistics such as gender, race?
  • Sam – Not yet, we can take it on board.
  • LJR – I would say on equalities issue breaking down data on gender would be good.
  • SI – Female graduates are underrepresented in all sectors. They do better in school, with grades etc. but across every sector, not as many women entering grad level jobs.
  • LM – Is it application process?
  • SI – Women more likely to get thorough but they are not applying. Is it about competitiveness, females less likely to take the plunge.
  • LM – Plotr technology study says that a female would not apply if they can’t do the majority of the things on the job spec. But a male is more likely to apply anyway.
  • Sam – grad roles are slowing down, apprenticeship increasing. Hard to analyse as too much not known. Like to think there will be more degree based apprenticeships. Predict that the change in money means that it will be more imperative to get involved. Still up for debate. Organisations supplying into the market are running hot.
  • BSDS – Is it easy to give more money to keep young people.
  • SI – It doesn’t have to be the highest salary, ave £25k
  • LY – Are the expectations of young people not being met.
  • Sam – Expectation of graduates is that they want to move a lot faster than they have the skills to
  • DK – How much work do you do with universities
  • SI – About 100 members are universities
  • DK – I am 2 years into my course and not heard of these key skills such as managing up.
  • LY – is it that the language is different?
  • Sam – Yes good point we need a common skills language.
  • SI – The answer is work experience, in Germany there is a structured work experience offer and this is where these skills are best learnt. Some universities have more places for WEX and can’t fill the places with students. Trying to persuade students to do WEX when it is not mandatory is difficult for universities. 6 months – 12 months is a good opportunity of WEX. Students get to see projects, see a cycle, do meaningful work.
  • LM – It helps the grads stand out from the crowd.
  • SI – It also makes better students when they return to university. Young people generally doing less part-time work than they used to.
  • BDS – Do you have any questions for the audience.
  • Sam- What do you think young people’s expectations are?
  • DK – Lack of information from a university in terms of employment, I am not in my final year but I get nothing. In my final year I have to do a compulsory work experience placement, I didn’t receive as much help as I thought I would. Such as more connections between employers and university. Limited places. 2nd year looking for help and opportunity.
  • SI – More employers going into university career roles. Many universities are recognising employability ranking.
  • LJR – How accurate is the employability ranking?
  • SI – Deli is floored but it is some form of data and its comparable year on year.
  • Sam – How easy it is to act on. What decision does it help a person to make?
  • KM – Not had much guidance at school, lots of emphasis on preparing for university. All my work experience else is what I have found myself. Costs are high so living costs mean you might not look for work experience but look for work.
  • LM – The internships are competitive; the engineering companies are struggling to fill. It varies in location and sector.
  • SI – This is where the apprenticeship levy might change things. Students are choosing university based on the course not the employment outcomes. Employers need to help young people through the interview stage and tweak out the skills and experiences.
  • FH – Young people do not know they have the skills that employers want. No one has coached them or told them. 60,000 school leavers looking for alternatives to university. School leavers apply for 7 different opportunities where a graduate will only apply for 1 thing. School leavers then struggle to articulate their skills.
  • LJR – YEUK launching a new level of membership for young people, which will help them identify their employment skills and see where their own gaps are, encourage them to be young professionals and help employers identify with them.
  • Nazhim – Year 12 student now – year 10 had previously had WEX when I got into year 10 there was none and it had a knock on effect by the time young people got to year 11. When we got into year 12 we got better guidance and support. We would have been more confident getting that guidance early.
  • SI – Schools are being bombarded and it makes it difficult.


BDS – Thanks AGR and closes meeting.


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