A team of four undergraduate researchers investigated interactions between higher education institutions (HEIs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Led by a project research officer from the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning at the University of Warwick, the researchers surveyed and interviewed students, academics and SMEs.
The key themes that emerged from the research were:
- The careers industry;
- Do SMEs understand what graduates want and what they can offer?
- What do students know about SMEs?
- The potential for increasing interactions.
Six recommendations that came from the research were:
- A single internet site/portal is required for SMEs to distribute opportunities around HEIs.
- Students should set up networking events for SMEs.
- Where applicable, SMEs should advertise the potential for career progression in their graduate positions.
- Universities should ensure that information about company-funded STEM research is available to students.
- University STEM departments should encourage more guest lectures.
- HEIs to further promote student and graduate employment in SMEs.