According to a new report – Routes to high-level skills
– published today by Universities UK, policymakers should look
to build on existing partnerships to give more students the skills they
and employers need.
series of case studies in the report show how colleges and universities
are already sharing funding, resources, and staff expertise.
universities and further education colleges will continue to offer
distinct courses and skills training, the need for closer working
between them and local employers will become increasingly important as demand for people of all ages
with higher level skills continues to grow, particularly at Levels 4
and 5 (foundation degree, higher national diploma, and higher national
Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said policymakers need to find ways to develop better local links. He said:
report shows that colleges and universities across the country are
sharing expertise and resources to provide courses that employers want.
This is very different to the perception that they operate in isolation.
The debate shouldn’t be about further versus higher education.
Government, funders and regulators should focus on building strong local
links, not seeing an unreal divide.
has been a worrying drop in part-time and mature study numbers, when
our economy needs more of them. We must develop policies to make
part-time study more appealing, upskilling easier and encourage lifelong
learning among our ageing population. Incentivising even closer working
between universities, colleges and employers can help us achieve these
Sam Gyimah MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, said:
findings of this report demonstrate the undeniable value of engaging
employers in our education system. Not only is it for the benefit of
students but also the country’s economy.
want colleges, universities, business and industry to work together to
ensure our education and training system is giving young people the
skills they need to succeed in whatever career they choose and
delivering the skilled workforce employers demand.
review of post-18 education and funding is also looking at how we can
ensure the system provides genuine choice and works better for
The new report – Routes to high-level skills – is available to download.
level skills, which include qualifications at level 4 and 5 (such as
HNCs, HNDs, and Foundation Degrees), level 6 (bachelor degrees) and
level 7 and 8 (postgraduate and research degrees).
Around 41% of courses currently offered by universities have a technical, professional or vocational focus.
total number of part-time students in higher and further education and
with alternative providers has fallen from 539,645 in 2013/14 to 476,910