Graduates should be trained for local jobs, says LGA
By Vivienne Russell | 1 October 2012
Council leaders have called for powers to offer skills training that fits the jobs available in local labour markets, as graduate unemployment rises.
Almost half of university leavers are still looking for work three months after leaving university, the Local Government Association said. Under-employment is also rising, with the proportion of university leavers going into part-time work increasing from 7% in 2003 to 11%.
But there is a huge variation between areas, the LGA said. Of the 20 local authority areas with the lowest proportion of graduate employment, 17 are in London. This is, in part, because of high levels of competition for graduate-level jobs in the capital.
However, other areas, including Bolton, Wakefield and Herefordshire, are bucking the trend and showing small increases in the number of graduates in fulltime work.
Peter Box, chair of the LGA’s economy and transport board, said: ‘Councils and employers best understand their local labour markets, and we want to work with universities to ensure graduates are not only equipped to take local jobs but that we are able harness their talent to drive growth in our economies.
‘We need to ensure that the skills people have make a better match with the jobs that are being created in a local area.’
In areas where councils have been given greater powers under the City Deals programme, skills funding is being more effectively targeted, the LGA said. In Bristol, for example, local government, businesses and the Local Enterprise Partnership have agreed an ‘employability manifesto’ to target young people with the right job skills.
Universities should work with councils to offer students ‘robust’ career advice in their final year, including information on opportunities available locally, the LGA added.