In general, what is the quality of students coming to you from schools (UK)?
Responses from deputy vice-chancellor Professor Helen Higson:
Aston is particularly known for taking on students from lower participation groups and getting them into skilled work.
The latest figures show 42% of our students are from the lowest four socio-economic classes, nine per cent higher than the sector average.
And some 94% of our students are from state schools and 61%t are in receipt of an income-based scholarship.
Many of them will be the first in their family to enter higher education.
However, a more challenging background is evidently not a barrier to success at Aston.
More than four out of five of our graduates go on to achieve a professional level job or continue into further study - the 18th highest proportion in the UK. (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide).
We do find some of our new students are lacking confidence in soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills all of which are usually vital to graduate employers.
We believe a key reason for this is a lack of professional work experience - good grades are only part of the picture. To address this, we have the Aston Placement Year programme which 70% of our students participate in.
This gives them the chance not only to put their academic skills into practice but to adjust to the social dynamics and practices of the modern workplace which are harder to teach in the lecture theatre.
How closely do you work with businesses/employers to ensure your graduates have the skills they need?
We work very closely with employers to identify skills gaps. We have a dedicated careers and placements team who adopt a consultative approach with businesses to understand their needs.
There are a range of approaches we can offer, including an MBA project, a year-long student placement, a knowledge transfer partnership, or a degree apprenticeship.
Through these relationships and other internal and external data sources, we add to our bank of labour market intelligence which creates more opportunities for students and informs our degree curriculums, ensuring we are always in touch with the needs of business.
We are highly successful in establishing research projects in collaboration with industry.
For example, our knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs) result in academic staff teaching the findings as case studies to our students.
The findings learned throughout the KTP go on to become part of the curriculum so there is a clear link between industry and our skilled graduates.
Original source: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/what-uks-top-universities-saying-13329686