The University of Limerick recently launched their ‘Graduate Attributes Statement’ – a collective commitment to creating a learning environment that stimulates students to be: knowledgeable, proactive, creative, responsible, collaborative and articulate.
Students, employers, teachers, professional bodies and community representatives were involved in a wide consultation process to identify the key attributes which will stand to graduates in their career and personal lives.
UL President, Professor Don Barry, said; “These attributes guide our curricular foundations, our learning orientations and actions and the teaching and learning climate we create at UL. Together, they summarise the kinds of people that we encourage UL students to become during their programme of learning. By prioritising these attributes, we send our graduates out into the world having created an environment that we know will stand to them when facing the opportunities and challenges of life and work in both national and international contexts.”
Despite the challenging environment, UL's graduate employment rate has continued to rise. Our 2011 figure for primary degree-holders is 16% higher than the national average. A survey of UL’s 2011 graduates showed 88% are either employed or pursuing further study.
UL’s Associate Vice President, Academic, Professor Sarah Moore said; ‘Our focus on graduate attributes across all programmes of study further strengthens our established and demonstrated commitment to employability.’
In addition to their own subject expertise and discipline-specific capability we seek to ensure a learning environment in which our students will be enabled to acquire and display attributes that have been persistently linked to employability, and are seen by employers as vital for graduates embarking on careers in any field.
Managing Director of Aughinish Alumina, Damien Clancy, said “pure technical expertise in a graduate is a given for quality employers, it’s expected in all graduates. However, what differentiates between prospective employees and what employers want are graduates who can demonstrate a range of attributes that show they can successfully deliver on their potential, both inside and outside of their technical sphere. The UL Graduate Attributes Statement succinctly captures the qualities needed for this and gives a definite edge in graduate employability”.
UL graduates continue to buck the trend in employability – with very encouraging figures among disciplines which would have been impacted by the downturn. 88% of the 2012 graduates of UL’s Civil Engineering programme were found to have secured employment including paid research or further study within weeks of graduation.
Professor Tom Cosgrove, Chair of Civil Engineering, UL said; “Engineering graduates frequently move between sectors and employers are driving this mobility because they know that the attributes demonstrated by a good degree are more important than the degree specialty. Our graduates are now working across a range of fields; oil industry, financial services, consultancy, contracting and manufacturing. Half of them are based in Ireland with the rest working internationally. A good degree is a key, not a lock and globalization is a fact, not a tragedy.”
In the field of journalism and new media, UL graduates have won a number of top awards including the Irish Independent - Vincent Doyle Award for Investigative Journalism and the National Journalist of the Year award at the Student Media Awards.
Tom Felle, Course Director, BA Journalism and New Media said; “The challenges facing the journalism sector have forced graduates to embrace emerging media and be innovative in their approach to news-making. Despite the difficulties in the sector, 66% of our recent graduating class have been successful in securing employment.”
UL’s Graduate Attributes Statement is available here.