Further and Higher Education relevance to industry and career​

The Higher Place research project will investigate how relevant the HE provision at West Suffolk College is in matching undergraduate career aspirations and the local job market.

About the project


A range of undergraduates will be interviewed and asked about their future career aspirations, how they feel their programme of study has prepared them for the work place and if it has provided them with an understanding of sustainability. Interviews will take place with students early in their studies, those mid-way and those in their final year. Local employers views will also be drawn upon to explore their expectations of undergraduates and their understanding of sustainability. Data will be taken from the relevant websites to gain evidence of the range and availability of career opportunities in the local area.

Monthly reports will be provided to keep a record of research progress and to summarise findings. A final report will draw together all findings to answer the question of how relevant HE provision at West Suffolk College is for the local economy.

What is the project about?

The project is exploring the relevance of current HE curriculum and how best the college can support HE students in developing their future careers.

Aims and desirable outcomes

  • To listen to students and hear what their aspirations and hopes for the future are
  • To explore both learners and employers understanding of sustainability
  • To get summary statistics on the local job market
  • To get a better understanding the requirements of local employers

Current successes

What the project is currently achieving

Excellent engagement from HE students who are happy to share their hopes for the future and career aspirations. Students have already provided very positive feedback on their experiences on their courses so far with experienced and supportive tutors clearly taking a key role on learner confidence about their futures. Learners were finding their courses prepared them well and gave them confidence about the future. Learners found their course content clearly tied to industry and that the qualification would secure them progression in their chosen industry.

Statistical data for the local jobs market shows that many industries have above average work opportunities in the local area and there are several skill areas that are highly in demand.

Research findings

Design and pilot a questionnaire for HE students

Select research participants

Carry out a series of interviews with HE students to determine their aspirations and how these are reflected in the course they are studying and the job prospects in the local economy

Carry out interviews and/or invite employers to an event to discuss initial findings of research

Write up report reflecting on the alignment of aspirations, careers and jobs.

Produce a presentation on findings and report to internal FEPDG panel.

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