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Beyond the Cap and Gown: Empowering Graduates for Professional Success

Graduates will play an important part in our future workforce. It is predicted that by 2035, 88% of new jobs will require graduate-level qualifications.[1] During the 2021-22 academic year, over 2 million students were studying in UK higher education, and graduate job applications increased by 41% in 2023.[2] These statistics highlight how graduates are preparing to take on the world of work with academic qualifications, however we need to ask whether they have the necessary human skills to thrive in a professional field. So, how do we prepare recent graduates for the professional world and how can learning solutions empower the future workforce?

Bridging the gap between University and Work

According to the CMI, around 80% of employers believe that graduates arrive in the workplace unprepared with work-ready skills.[3] Similarly, around one-third of recent graduates think their university education has not prepared them with valuable career and management skills. This ultimately produces a gap between graduates finishing their university education and beginning a new professional role. However, organisations can bridge this gap by providing more relevant learning and development programmes to equip their recent graduates with work-ready skills.


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Enhancing Graduate Employability

Recruiting graduates is one of the first steps in building a successful workforce whilst equipping them with human skills to navigate the professional world is equally important. High Fliers reported that the UK’s top employers are investing more in graduates, with over 3000 recent graduates recruited in 2022 and employers continuing to grow graduate vacancies by 6.3% in 2023.[4] Employers recognise the benefits of graduates, so organisations are encouraged to invest in their learning and development.

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Unveiling Graduate Human Skills

It is vital that organisations support graduates with critical human skills, including:



Self-direction helps graduates develop their own initiative and independence. This also promotes motivation, innovation, and proactivity for graduates to work efficiently in a team.

Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional intelligence is a crucial skill for graduates in the early stages of their careers. Developing EQ will increase their self-awareness and ability to build effective relationships in the workplace.

Growth Mindset:

A growth mindset helps graduates approach new and challenging situations with resilience and confidence and ensures they continuously learn and grow


Effective communication skills allow graduates to work well with others. This can be achieved through various methods including verbal, written, and nonverbal communication

Teamwork and Collaboration:

Working as a team helps graduates resolve problems, align objectives, and grow together. Collaboration builds stronger relationships and ensures graduates achieve their goals.

Rethinking Graduate Learning and Development

Learning and development programmes are an ideal solution to equip recent graduates with the necessary tools to succeed in their careers. These programmes offer highly effective, engaging, and interactive experiences to prepare recent graduates with work-ready skills. By implementing learning and development solutions, employers have an opportunity to grow and develop their recent graduates and build a highly skilled workforce.

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Graduate Learning at Ashorne Hill

Ashorne Hill is an established learning organisation that helps leaders, managers, teams, and individuals to develop critical human skills that are essential for success in our rapidly changing world. Our focus is on nurturing and inspiring human skill development, and we have successfully helped organisations prepare hundreds of graduates for the professional world with the necessary human skills to take in their future careers.

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Written by: Ashorne Hill’s Victoria Sparkes

Article Reference

[1] “Jobs of the Future.” Universities UK,

[2] “UK Graduate Statistics & Employment Rates: 2023 Analysis.” StandOut CV | CV Writing Advice, CV Examples and Templates, 30 Nov. 2023,

[3] Insights, Written by CMI. “Are Graduates Ready for Work? New CMI Research.” CMI, 30 Sept. 2021,

[4] Fliers, High. 2023, The Graduate Market In 2023,