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It is time to move beyond fear and begin the journey towards recovery

Reviewing a week of higher education news, Worcester University Pro Vice-Chancellor Ross Renton calls for clarity and support from the government and Office for Students to help institutions alleviate fears and contribute to the UK’s revival.

UK universities face deficits next year - but are likely to bounce back, predicts Moody's

The coronavirus outbreak will lead to temporary budget deterioration and operating deficits for some UK universities next year, but the sector's finances are likely to bounce back in two to three years, according to a new report from the ratings agency Moody's.

Uncertainty over re-opening plans for HE leaves universities and students in limbo

Another week of pandemic-dominated HE news has highlighted the dilemmas facing universities and students over what to expect in the coming academic year says, Mike Ratcliffe, academic registrar at Nottingham Trent University.

How to make online learning a dynamic experience rather than like a ‘Netflix binge’

As HEi-know publishes a Good Practice Briefing on the transition to online delivery of HE, James Clay, head of higher education and student experience at Jisc, who provides an overview in the Briefing, offers some tips on overcoming the challenges of making the shift to online teaching.

Over half of final year students lose jobs or internships due to pandemic

The class of 2020 will be less prepared for work and face fewer career opportunities because of the pandemic, according to new research.

A survey of nearly 5,000 students and graduates by Prospects, the graduate careers and employability service that is now part of Jisc, showed that 29 per cent of final year students have lost their jobs and 26 per cent have lost their internships while 28 per cent have had their graduate job offer deferred or rescinded.

The poll also found that  job losses and fewer opportunities have left almost half (47 per cent) of finalists now contemplating a postgraduate course and 29 per cent are considering a career change.

Almost two-thirds of final year students now feel negative about their future careers. The majority reported that they are lacking in motivation (83 per cent) and feel disconnected from employers (82 per cent). Their biggest concerns are that there will be fewer jobs, internships or apprenticeship opportunities in their chosen industries.

Conversely, 18 per cent of university finalists are feeling positive about their career prospects, which was more evident in men (29 per cent) than women (14 per cent). Respondents commonly reported that the pandemic had given them more time to research their options and make plans.

The research also showed that final year students would like more information from employers, particularly around job opportunities or changes to the recruitment process as well as information on working from home.

While research by the Institute of Student Employers reported that the majority of its members have moved to online recruitment methods, 60 per cent of finalists said they were worried about virtual interviews and assessment centres and 72 per cent wanted help and advice.

Executive director of student services at Jisc, Jayne Rowley, who manages Prospects' services, said: "There is a serious problem brewing for this year's graduates. This is a critical time for finalists who should be developing their skills in part-time jobs and internships and we need to do everything we can to support them.

"Graduating in this pandemic may have taken many important opportunities away, but getting a career started is not insurmountable.

"We are all adapting to extraordinary circumstances and I think students would be amazed at how many valuable skills they are developing during lockdown, such as organisation, communication and resilience. Students may be supporting vulnerable people, shopping for neighbours, setting up a virtual group or sharing their talents online. My advice to students is to reflect on all of the positive things they are doing and use them to demonstrate their skills to employers.

"There is lots of advice and guidance for students and graduates on our website and don't forget university careers services, which are doing everything possible to support students and graduates during this difficult time."

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