Teaching higher skills essential for UK prosperity

University Alliance has responded to today’s CBI publication ‘Tomorrow’s growth: New routes to higher skills’.

Professor Steve West, Chair of University Alliance and Vice-Chancellor of the UWE, said:

“The CBI is absolutely right that we need more people with higher-level skills if the UK economy is to build on its strengths and grow. And universities are at the heart of this solution.

“Higher skills are an essential part of driving growth and Alliance institutions are leading the sector’s work with UK business to ensure that students are getting the experience and expertise that will support UK industry to thrive. Our universities are engaged in a high degree of curriculum design with business and professional bodies, we offer 50% of all sandwich courses and lead some of the most innovative applied research delivering high quality academic and practice-oriented programmes.

“As this report highlights we need to be able to expand and diversify pathways to higher skills but the current system constrains student numbers, preventing the UK from equipping more people with these vital skills and attributes. This is why University Alliance is looking into a new funding system that aims to put tertiary education on a more affordable, flexible and, crucially, sustainable footing, ready to face future challenges.”


Examples of UA leading the sector’s work with business:

At Northumbria University students on the Business Leadership and Corporate Management degree spend their first year learning the core disciplines of business while working on consultancy projects with teams of employers including P&G, Nissan and John Lewis. Students then spend their second and third year working full-time in a salaried role within business with work-based course assessment.

Recent final year students at Nottingham Trent University took on a ‘live’ development consultancy project working with Rolls-Royce on design, financial appraisal and development planning proposals. Students’ final presentations were approved by a board consisting of industry and university representatives.

The Venture Matrix Programme at Sheffield Hallam University is a unique work-based learning scheme that brings together students and external organisations to tackle real life challenges and gain practical work experience. In 2012-13 the scheme involved 1,800 students and 60 organisations and has helped students to secure work placements, full-time employment and set up their own businesses.

Read more at UK universities growing global graduates.

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