Monthly Archives: April 2009

Employability: Giving Graduates the Upper Hand

When recruiting graduates, employers are increasingly rating sound employability skills as a highly valuable trait for candidates to offer. In a recent BBC News online article, head of the CBI, Richard Lambert, stresses ‘students must get skills and first-hand experience of work while still at university.’ A recent report launched by the CBI and Universities UK indicates that 78% of employers who were surveyed view employability skills as ‘essential’.

When it comes to considering the vast array of university courses on offer, prospective students are being more considered in their subject and institution choices. More and more, they’re looking for courses which are not just of purely academic value to them and are placing an increasing emphasis on being able to gain practical knowledge and experience as part of their course in order to help give them a competitive edge in their future careers. Employability is rapidly becoming a factor that influences prospective students’ choices.

Through its expertise as a provider of many vocationally relevant programmes, Birmingham City University is well positioned to provide a combination of academic and practical knowledge which reflect the changing demands of prospective students.

Continue reading Employability: Giving Graduates the Upper Hand

Parents’ Guide | Part 1: In advance – number crunching

In the first part of our Parents’ Guide series, a Choices adviser looks at sources of information you can use to find out more about funding options for undergraduate courses.

Looking at option for financial support to study a degree often seems like a jungle with loans for fees, loans and grants for maintenance and bursaries all forming elements that can help eligible students to meet the costs of living and studying whilst at university.

As a parent, the importance of exploring the full range of information about student financial support goes without saying. Here at Birmingham City University, dedicated staff can help you find out more about the options for funding courses we provide. Our course information and guidance centre, Choices, have a team of friendly, knowledgeable advisers who can provide information about potential sources of funding.

If you require more in-depth advice or information, Birmingham City University’s student financial advisers are on hand to talk to you about the full range of options available and entitlements to additional assistance. They also provide assistance to students whilst they’re studying with us, with support and advice in areas including basic money management skills, contacts for trusts and charities who may offer opportunities for student sponsorship and information about tax. For access to online information, please visit http://www.bcu.ac.uk/studentservices/studentfinance/index.html.

Student Finance England offer information and advice about support available for Higher Education courses. You can find out more at Direct.gov.uk.

Student charity, UniAid, not only provide advice and information about student finance but also provide a handy tool for calculating an idea of personal entitlements to student financial support. To get a better idea of how much help your son or daughter could receive, visit http://www.studentcalculator.org.uk/.

Mathematics and English requirements for Higher Education courses

University course entry requirements often stipulate that prospective students will need to have suitable qualifications and grades in mathematics and English in addition to other entry requirements for their courses. In UK institutions, GCSEs may be specified as the minimum required level although certain university courses may require a higher level qualification for entry onto particular courses.

Alternative qualifications, such as Key Skills qualifications, can sometimes be considered in lieu of GCSEs but this is very much dependent upon the university and course, so prospective students should endeavour to check individual entry requirements before considering undertaking any alternative qualifications. For example, teacher training courses have requirements for English and mathematics (and for Primary Education and Early Years courses Science) which are very specific. Key Skills qualifications are not appropriate in this instance, so it’s essential that those wishing to apply for a teacher training course have appropriate qualifications in these areas.

Prospective students whose first language isn’t English often have to demonstrate other appropriate English language qualifications or achieve specific scores or grades in tests such as IELTS or TOEFL. There are potentially a wide range of qualifications that could be considered in this instance, but it’s important that clarification is sought with individual institutions as to their policies on this.  

These core requirements depend on the university’s individual entry requirement policies, so the golden rule is that you should always check with the institutions you’re thinking about applying to in order to find out exactly what qualifications you will need to offer in advance of signing up for them.