Measuring the impact of skills awards - June 2021

This report, written by members of the AGCAS Skills Award Task Group, demonstrates the impact of undertaking a skills awards on students’ personal and professional development by measuring their progress before and after the completion of an award. We find that positive outcomes for students completing an award were recorded for all three institutions that took part in this research, including improvements in students' skills self-assessment scores and progress in their career planning stage. Across all students from the three institutions, over half achieved a positive outcome after completing a skills award.

The research makes the following recommendations:

  1. In order to measure and demonstrate the impact completing the award has had on students, the same evaluation data should be captured at the start and end of the process.
  2. Where universities or careers services have skills development or graduate attribute frameworks, skills awards should be recognised as a way to embed these into programmes and measure students’ knowledge and progress with developing these skills.
  3. Where institutions use careers registration, this data should be used to evaluate student progress before and after completing a skills award, and compare this with the progress of students who did not complete an award.
  4. At a sector-level, we recommend widening the scope of this research to include evaluation data (either through career readiness or through skills self-evaluation data) from more institutions from students who have completed a skills award, and those who have not.

Finally, we recognise that further research should be undertaken to better understand how undertaking a skills award leads to positive student outcomes.