Using Lightcast to Review Courses and Boost Employability

Published on May 11, 2023

Written by Mariana Marques

The University of Derby is a modern university located in Derby, England, offering an array of industry-relevant courses from foundation and undergraduate degrees to postgraduate studies and research. Its academic expertise, world-leading research and innovation are used to foster talent, support skills development and promote links with businesses regionally, nationally and globally.

The challenge

The University of Derby wanted to review its existing courses and introduce new courses to its portfolio that were in line with employer skills demands, boosting employability for its students. However, in order to review its portfolio and ensure each course was teaching the most appropriate skills, the university needed to know what employers were seeking from their graduates in terms of skills and to be able to quantify and locate that demand.

Partnering with Lightcast

In 2016, the university began what has become an incredibly fruitful partnership with Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), leveraging their data to match skills demands with the specifications of its courses. Using Lightcast’s Job Postings data, the university is able to understand the growth or decline of relevant job numbers, as well as the specialised skills being sought by employers for particular job roles.

As an example, the Market Insight team reviewed the university’s Psychology courses by looking at the jobs that cite knowledge of psychology within the job postings to ascertain its transferability beyond Psychologist roles. The team was then able to change the wording on its Psychology course web pages regarding how the qualification can be used in a variety of future careers. The team also uses Lightcast data to explore related occupations and quantify their growth/decline over time to inform their annual horizon scanning reports.

How Lightcast enables the University of Derby to unlock new opportunities

Working with Lightcast means that the University of Derby can have a deep understanding of what the labour market looks like, and shape the proposed content of its new and existing courses before they reach the validation stage. By understanding the skills being sought by employers, the team is able to appropriately update its courses to meet the needs of employers and subsequently of the university’s students after they graduate.

When discussing the benefits of using Lightcast, Ian Marsden, Market Insight Officer at the University of Derby, commented:

"Lightcast’s data is an essential component in our portfolio review process, allowing us to understand the skills being sought by employers and ensure that our students are taught the skills required as they seek to progress in their careers."

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