Higher education and employability - closing the talent gap


David Aldous, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Doug Cole, The Higher Education Academy

The session was framed around four aims:

  • Setting the context: Identifying the ‘gaps’ between HE/FE and the sport and physical activity sector.
  • Discussion point 1: What it means to be successful within the sport and physical activity sector?
  • Discussion point 2: The role of sport and physical activity in supporting the development of future graduates.
  • Future directions and considerations: Addressing the ‘gaps’ in HE/FE working together with the sport and physical activity sector.

Setting the context

Unpacked what is meant by the talent gap. David Aldous, Senior Lecturer in Pedagogy, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and Doug Cole, Head of Academic Practice, The Higher Education Academy, outlined research showing the lack of skills and behaviours exhibited by graduates of HE/FE making it difficult to find employment in our sector.



Discussion point 1

In this section the audience identified the skills they require from graduates that they don’t currently exhibit. These included:

  • Proactivity
  • Communication
  • Life preparation
  • Drive
  • Enthusiasm
  • Entrepreneurial mindset

It was agreed there is a lack of standardisation on degree programmes, they also are not driven by employers or focused on an occupation. It was felt the changes in HE has made institutions more business driven and it easier for them to sell the ‘sexy’ topics such as elite sport, whereas realistically there are many more jobs in the practical roles such as management of programmes or facilities.

Graduates have great knowledge but struggle to apply this in a real world setting.

Discussion point 2  

Wasn’t covered due to a lack of time.

Future directions

The establishment of closer links between employers, FE and HE, as brokered by CIMSPA was advocated.