SCOTLAND’S newest university is one of the worst in the UK for graduate prospects, a study has found.
Research carried out by YouGov to mark the launch of the new edition of the Good University Guide found just over 40 per cent of those leaving the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) go into work or further study.
By contrast, both Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and St Andrews were in the top ten. The study also found more than half of graduate employers believe that very few university leavers are ready for the world of work.
The compilers of the Good University Guide said the findings called into question the effectiveness of “the millions of pounds universities are spending in augmenting degrees” to make their graduates more employable.
Overall, 52 per cent of graduate employers said none or few graduate recruits were “work ready” when they joined.
According to the research, Imperial College London is the most successful in the UK when it comes to graduates finding work or further study six months after graduation (89.2 per cent), while Buckinghamshire New University is the worst (43.7 per cent).
Alastair McCall, one of the editors of the Good University Guide, said: “University prospectuses are now full of programmes and initiatives promising to give students more than just a degree. They say they will equip students with the skills they need to make them more attractive to employers.
“The YouGov survey findings suggest this is an investment that is sorely needed. With the typical degree now costing £27,000 in tuition fees alone, students have a right to be better prepared for the battleground that is the graduate jobs market.”
While Scots studying in their home country remain exempt from tuition fees, students from elsewhere in the UK pay up to £9,000 a year for their degrees.
Figures released earlier this year by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) showed students graduating from Scotland’s modern universities are often more likely to find jobs than those completing degrees at their elite rivals.
Nearly 98 per cent of students leaving Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen and more than 96 per cent of graduates from Glasgow Caledonian University went into employment or further study within six months of completing their studies, according to the official statistics.
Commenting on the 52 per cent figure from the guide, Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, said: “This figure is contradicted by a weight of data demonstrating that graduates from Scotland’s universities are highly valued by employers.
“For instance, the Scottish Employer Skills Survey repeatedly confirms high satisfaction ratings with graduates, with over 80 per cent well prepared for work.
“Employability is embedded at the core of learning and teaching experience at every one of Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions.”