UCL boosts graduate support efforts

3 March 2009

Students in the UCL quad

A radical set of measures to support current students who are facing the prospect of graduating into an unprecedentedly difficult employment market later in the year has been unveiled by UCL Provost Malcolm Grant. With recruitment on the ‘Milkround’ expected to dip, UCL is offering its graduates the chance either to continue their education at a discounted rate, or to develop their CVs in innovative new ways.

The final package of support is in the process of being formalised, but could include:

  • an intensive, week-long, summer ‘boot camp’ in entrepreneurship to teach graduates the basics of starting up a business, reading balance sheets and producing a solid business plan;
  • a significant discount in fees for UCL students who return to the university and continue their studies at masters level. The availability and level of discount has not yet been decided, but it will not be means tested and will be offered in addition to existing bursary support. In some cases there will also be opportunities for returning graduates to provide mentoring for undergraduate students;
  • a raft of new graduate programmes in management, enterprise and the commercialisation of science and technology. The first of these, an MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship is already accepting applications;
  • an increase in the number of graduates on internships with UCL departments, spin-out companies and corporate partners;
  • additional investment in UCL’s Careers Service to ensure graduates have access to professional careers support for at least one year following graduation.

Explaining the rationale behind the move, UCL President and Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, said: “This summer will see us produce a large group of outstanding graduates, including many with strong quantitative and analytical skills who would normally have been hoovered up by financial institutions and the professions. In the current economic climate, UCL believes that we have a strong moral responsibility to support their future development, rather than simply wave them goodbye at graduation.

“These are often the very strongest students with the ability to become the next generation of outstanding scientists and scholars. This is an opportunity for us to recapture this talent and help support the future of science and technology.

“We want to provide as many of them as possible with alternative opportunities to continue their higher education and to develop their skills, because there is a high risk that their attractiveness to potential employers will otherwise decline steadily, particularly if they accept less demanding and unfulfilling jobs as a temporary expedient, and are overtaken by successive future years of graduates.”

UCL is in the process of finalising the package but the level of investment required is estimated to be £500,000. The measures will initially be offered to students graduating in the summer of 2009, with the option to continue the initiative in future years if necessary.

To read coverage of UCL’s graduate support plans in the ‘Financial Times’, follow the link at the top of this article.