First for Keele as ILM accredits University's 'Distinctive Curriculum'

Posted on 21 May 2012

Businesses look to universities to develop better ‘leaders of tomorrow’


First for Keele as ILM accredits University's 'Distinctive Curriculum'


The Institute of Leadership & Management is calling on universities to better prepare graduates for business and has, for the first time, accredited a new ‘Distinctive Curriculum’ at Keele University, which comes into effect from September 2012. The programme will support the University’s already strong employability rating, with latest figures showing that 93% of graduates were in full time employment within six months.
The ILM, the UK's largest awarding body for higher education and leadership qualifications, believes that the ‘Distinctive Keele Curriculum’ will help develop graduates that are well-rounded and better prepared to take on the world of work – an endorsement that has been echoed by the Universities and Science Minister David Willets. Describing the approach at Keele as innovative, he said:

“Our reforms are about empowering students and ensuring their university experience helps them succeed. I believe that a good student is not simply a consumer of other people’s knowledge, but will actively draw on all the resources that a good university can offer to learn as much as they can. A university experience should transform lives and career options.

“I welcome the innovative approach that Keele University has taken with the Distinctive Curriculum. This initiative will help graduates to emerge with the breadth and depth of skills and knowledge that employers are looking for.”

From the start of their programmes, students will have the opportunity to attend timetabled classes, workshops and advice sessions designed to improve graduate employability prospects and prepare them for the world of work. The tailored programme will help each student develop an understanding of the transferable nature of the skills they are learning through their academic course and help build an awareness of careers from early in their degree, as well as helping each student shape a portfolio of work to share with future employers. In addition, co-curricular activities will be offered alongside students' academic programmes to strengthen attainment of the graduate attributes.  The ILM supports the integration of core employment, team membership, management and leadership skills into the degrees Keele offer. It is a model that the ILM believes other universities should look to develop.

The accreditation follows research from the ILM which suggests current graduates are struggling to move from the world of higher education to the world of the workplace.

The Managing Generation Y report, which surveyed nearly 700 managers and 2,200 graduates from across the UK, reveals an ambitious and career driven graduate generation but also highlights a significant disconnect between graduates and managers. Although graduates are keenly motivated by status, salary and fast career advancement, many mangers feel that graduates are too focussed on their own objectives, are lacking in core business skills and are unable to work effectively in a team.

Charles Elvin, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership & Management, explains: “Most, if not all universities offer some kind of careers support to their students, but Keele University is the first institution where we’ve seen this approach embedded into every student programme from day one.”

“We are delighted to accredit the new curriculum as this high quality programme will provide graduates with the key workplace skills and knowledge to make an immediate impact and progress more rapidly into management roles.”

“What our research shows is that this approach is vital if we are going to create the leaders of tomorrow. Graduates have all the ambition and aspirations to get there, but are in some cases lacking the skills and wider perspective to succeed.”

“Graduates are a critical part of the UK workforce with around 230,000 now joining the labour force each year. The challenge for universities is how to turn good grades and intelligent potential into graduates that bring maximum value to organisations.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marilyn Andrews, adds: At Keele we are committed to providing a high quality learning and living environment in which our students can flourish. The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) recognises the importance of students’ personal and professional development throughout their time at University and we are delighted that the ILM has recognised these elements of the programme.” 


The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) is Europe’s leading management organisation. We believe that good leadership and management holds the key to organisational effectiveness and social and economic prosperity. Our fast-growing community of over 35,000 practising leaders and managers gives us a real insight into the issues affecting the management community day-to-day, both in the UK and globally.

Each year we help over 92,000 practising and aspiring managers to fulfil their potential and achieve success through a range of flexible leadership and management development solutions. Backed by an in-depth programme of research, ILM operates internationally, improving leadership and management skills, across all sectors, from financial services to the armed forces.

Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM)