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Graduates: Employment

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL639, tabled on 26 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with universities in England about the support they can provide to improve the employment prospects of graduates.

Answered on

8 June 2021

The government understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on students graduating this year, and we recognise that a number of graduates face particular challenges gaining employment due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the UK labour market and economy.

The government is doing all it can to help people who are at the start of their career journey. As part of the government’s Skills Recovery Package Plan for Jobs, we are investing an additional £32 million in the National Careers Service up to March 2022. This investment will support delivery of individual careers advice for over 500,000 people whose jobs or learning have been affected by the pandemic (by the end of the 2021/22 financial year). This represents an increase of 22%.

To provide additional support, we have developed the Graduate Employment and Skills Guide, which was published on 10 May on the Office for Students (OfS) website. The guide directs graduates to public, private, and voluntary sector opportunities to help them build employability skills, gain work experience, or enter the labour market, as well as providing links to further study options and resources on graduate mental health and wellbeing. The guide will also help graduates to recognise the valuable skills they have developed at university.

We have also engaged with Higher Education providers to produce a collection of Graduate Employability Case Studies. These case studies are published on the OfS website and demonstrate the breadth of innovative work and range of new measures university and college careers services have introduced to support final-year students and recent graduates as they move from university to graduate life.

Content on the National Careers Service website to support graduates includes information on graduate schemes and internships, sector-specific work experience, virtual work experience, virtual recruitment fairs, volunteering, developing soft skills, finding job vacancies, writing a CV and application form, telephone and video interviews, psychometric testing, using LinkedIn, gap years, and considering further study. On 29 September 2020, we added additional courses to the Skills Toolkit covering digital, numeracy, and employability skills. The new content includes a range of courses to develop ‘work readiness’ skills that employers value in their new recruits.

Where securing work is challenging, graduates may be able to access financial support. Graduates can apply for Universal Credit immediately after finishing a degree and can check their eligibility at

We have worked with a range of institutions across the sector to understand what more we can do to support graduates who are looking to secure employment at this challenging time and ensure students continue to leave university with qualifications that have real value and reflect their hard work.