It is 16 years since the Robbins Report ushered in a vast expansion of university places on the assumption that all who qualified by their A‐level grades should have the opportunity of higher education. Industry, in all that time, has never fully come to terms with the implications of this social change. The folk‐memory is of a “graduate intake” consisting of one or two gentlemen from Oxbridge who undertook prolonged and not very productive “management training”, and left, bored stiff, to join some other organisation. Nowadays, a company which does not have a comprehensive and well‐thought out plan for graduate recruitment and training is rejecting the major source of talent. Exceptions there always will be; some bright and well‐motivated people will turn their backs on higher education but they are, by definition, exceptional. So the first problem is how to attract the increasing number of potential recruits who have experienced higher education at a university or polytechnic.
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