The Project

Comments on the project

"... theoretical models do not always work in practice and in University they never tell you about the different reactions you might get" (Business Graduate)

".. it is about providing practical solutions and relevant answers rather than textbook descriptions" (HR Recruiter, Eversheds)

"... you have to learn to say NO if you are given too much to do or you are asked to do things that are beyond your actual role" (Music Graduate)

"..they are too concerned with their own playing skills which can be brilliant but that is not enough, they also have to realise that they will have to teach and work with a team ... I would say to undergraduate students, go out, get yourself some tuition experience, try to play in a band... as these are the real skills that add on to your own technical skills..." (Managing Director, Dudley Performing Arts)

These are some of the perceptions of employers and graduates on the skills that make a difference to making a start in life after graduation. The Creating Future-Proof Graduates project focused on preparing our graduates for the future. Through a number of conversations with graduates and employers across a range of sectors we elicited the skills most needed to succeed in the workplace in early career.


Employer associations and the Department for Innovation, University and Skills (DIUS), have high expectations of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in that we must attempt to deliver fully employable graduates.

Our conversations with employers suggest that our focus should be on generic skills beyond the subject and knowledge related to a specific discipline.

The eight skills identified from our conversations and research led us to develop a range of classroom activities based on simulated critical incident case studies designed to be integrated into the curriculum and used in the classroom.

We used an interdisciplinary approach to skills development in the curriculum as several of the case studies apply across disciplinary boundaries.


Change emerged through creating relationships, resources, structures and in shaping attitudes towards employability in the curriculum.

Lecturers were co-authors in the development of the critical incident scenarios to ensure the effective integration in the curriculum.

Students were central to the project's remit in that they are the main agents in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the critical incidents. They acted in, wrote, filmed, edited and directed some of the resources

Employers and graduates guided us in the selection of skills, trialled and helped develop the resources.

Although the project itself ended the resources live on and are being constantly used and adapted by many local, national and international users!