Research into student attitudes towards, and skills for, sustainable development (SD) was conducted for a fifth consecutive year. This annual study:
- updates our understanding on student attitudes towards, and skills for, sustainable development through 3845 first-year and 1747 second-year respondents in academic year 2014-2015
- identifies trends in demands and expectations from first-year students new to university
- tracks longitudinal demands and expectations from first-year students as they progress through their university career
- analyses the longitudinal variability in 21,304 student responses between 2010 and 2014.
Surveys were designed for first and third-year students. The content repeated the previous questions to capture comparable longitudinal data. There was no reference to sustainable development in its promotion to reduce bias. Responses were weighted to reflect the demographic makeup of the UK student population.
Research into employers’ attitudes towards, and skills needs for, sustainable development (SD) was conducted alongside the longitudinal student-facing research in 2014. The study, focused on experience of recent graduates, aimed to:
- understand levels of identification of skills needs around sustainable development across sectors and varying characteristics
- understand employers’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, sustainability issues
- explore how and why skills for sustainability are relevant for organisational leaders, and for those involved in recruitment of recent graduates
- gain insight into gaps in skills for sustainable development amongst recent graduates entering employment
- identify the role that higher education can play in addressing skills gaps among graduates, but also in working with employers to identify skills needs and opportunities for skills development.
Executive summary: Employer attitudes towards, and skills for, sustainable development
This report provides detail on employers’ perceptions of the importance, relevance and experience of skills for sustainability amongst recent graduates and provides a comparison between employer and student perspectives.
Executive summary: Students' attitudes towards, and skills for, sustainable development
This report provides an overview of the key findings from the fifth-year of research into student attitudes towards and skills for sustainable development in higher education and beyond.
Summary 1: Existing skills – the influence of further education
This report considers students’ experience of teaching and learning on sustainability during their time in further education, and the relevance of this learning for their experiences in higher education.
Summary 2: Understanding attitudes and behaviours for sustainable development during higher education
This report looks at students’ attitudes towards the concept of sustainable development, and how this translates to every day behaviour.
Summary 3: Learning and using skills for sustainable development during higher education
This report focuses on students’ demand for, perceptions of relevance, and experiences of learning skills for sustainable development during their time in higher education.
Summary 4: Sustainability skills and employability
This report provides detail of students’ perceptions of the relevance of sustainability skills for their careers after leaving higher education, along with detail on the prioritisation of sustainability within future roles.
Appendix 1: Research methodology
Appendix 2: Desk review – students attitudes
Appendix 3: Desk review – employer attitudes
Appendix 4: University skills survey – first-years
Appendix 5: Sustainability skills survey – employers