Innovation, growth and skills

Universities play a vital role in supporting business and communities, promoting local and national economic growth and innovation, and supplying highly skilled and employable graduates. ​​


 

We encourage collaboration and the exchange of knowledge between universities and businesses, local authorities, professional bodies, charities and a wide range of other stakeholders to ensure that businesses and employers are supported to grow, become more innovative and productive, and can access the skills that they need.​
 

Supporting and promoting universities' contribution to innovation, growth and skills​

Our work on innovation, growth and skills covers a range of areas and projects. In all of these we seek to support and promote the significant efforts universities are already making.

  • Skills
  • Adult learning
  • Degree apprenticeships
  • Level 4 and 5 higher education
  • Collaboration with sector bodies
  • Knowledge Exchange Concordat
  • European Structural and Investment Funds
 

Skills

We support the development of strong links between universities and employers to boost the employability of graduates and improve recognition of the value of graduate skills. 

Adult learning 
We are calling for the introduction of a pilot scheme that will test how modular funding could address local skills gaps, with a view to bringing about longer-term change to the higher education system. 

If you have an interest in adult learning and a more flexible higher education system, we would appreciate if you could take some time to give your views in our call for evidence.

Degree apprenticeships

We are working to support the development of degree apprenticeships in England and the development of wider apprenticeships policy across the UK. Our report, The future of degree apprenticeships outlines how to ensure degree apprenticeships fully meet employers' skills needs, provide opportunities and contribute to productivity and economic growth.
  

Level 4 and 5 higher education

We are supporting efforts to increase the flexibility of higher education provision at level 4 and 5. This will help meet employer demand, increase options for learners and develop provision that better suits the future shape of work. This work includes the development of technical education at level 4 and 5. We have responded to the most recent government consultation on this topic.
 

Collaboration with sector bodies

We engage with sector bodies that are identifying higher level skills needs and seeking to increase and improve their engagement with universities. We have been working with the digital sector, the film and television sector and the financial services sector.
 

Knowledge Exchange​ Concordat

The development of the concordat has been led by UUK and GuildHE in partnership with Research England, NCUB and PraxisAURIL as well as other funders and stakeholders. The concordat seeks to both enhance knowledge exchange within universities through the exchange of good practice, highlight the good practice that exists and act as a catalyst for collaboration between universities and with employers. 
  
The Knowledge Exchange Concordat has been published on our website. For further details of the implementation of the concordat, please go to www.keconcordat.ac.uk.

UniversitiesUK and GuildHE have outlined the importance of the knowledge exchange concordat and their endorsement of it in a supporting statement.
 

European Structural and Investment Funds​

In England we represent the sector in the European Structural Investment Funds Programme, which universities use to help them collaborate with businesses, charities and local enterprise partnerships on innovation, skills development, and business support and advice.​
 
England has been allocated €6.9 billion from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) between 2014 and 2020. We are working closely with the government on the placed successor to the ESIF Programme the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
 


Cover of flexible learning

Flexible learning: the current state of play in UK higher education

Report
26 October 2018
Analysis undertaken as part of UUK's project on the economic case for flexible learning, setting out the experiences of higher education institutions in providing and developing flexible learning opportunities, including the challenges and opportunities.

Lost learners

26 October 2018
A report exploring the socio-economic profile of the prospective students who have considered, but not pursued, part-time higher education since 2010.

Routes to high-level skills

Routes to high-level skills

Report
8 October 2018
Partnerships between higher education, further education, employees and other parts of the tertiary system are explored in this paper.

Solving future skills challenges

Solving future skills challenges

6 August 2018
Educating more people at university could bring significant benefits to the UK economy as the Fourth Industrial Revolution increases future demand for higher level skills.

Graduate retention: meeting local skills needs

Graduate retention: meeting local skills needs

UK Report
14 December 2017
A report analysing whether increased graduate retention could ease current skills shortages in the UK.

Sector deals – partnering with universities

Sector deals – partnering with universities

Factsheet
27 November 2017
A guide offering advice for businesses on how to best involve and engage with universities when proposing a sector deal, and gives practical advice on how this engagement can occur.

Raising attainment through university school partnerships

Raising attainment through university-school partnerships

Report
14 November 2017
A booklet providing examples of collaborations between universities and schools, and outlining how higher education institutions could work with the government to best deliver its objectives to raise attainment.

Universities UK submission to the Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into tertiary education

31 October 2017
Universities UK submission to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the economics of higher education, further education and vocational training

Economic impact of UK universities

The economic impact of universities in 2014–15

Report
16 October 2017
An investigation into the economic contribution that universities make annually​ to the UK economy through generating GDP, jobs and taxes, and their longer-term impact on the UK. 

Events

Degree apprenticeships 2021 conference

27 Jan 2021, 09:30 - 16:25

Blog

Student working on a bike

Funding for adult learners will boost the UK's economic recovery

30 September 2020
UUK's Julie Tam takes a look at the prime minister's announcement of a lifetime skills allowance, and what it means for the economy, society, and individuals.

The careers services team at Royal Holloway, University of London

How university careers services are supporting graduates through Covid-19

25 June 2020
Gabi Binnie from AGCAS explains how university careers services moved their provision online almost overnight following lockdown, in order to ensure students and graduates continue to be supported.

News

Majority of adult learners would upskill at university if given the chance

21 October 2020
New polling by Savanta ComRes for Universities UK has revealed that 82% of prospective students in England who are either unemployed, at risk of unemployment, or looking to learn new skills would be keen to study individual modules of a university degree.

UUK response to prime minister’s speech on adult learning and skills

29 September 2020
Commenting on the Prime Minister's speech on adult learning and skills, Professor Julia Buckingham, the President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University London, said it could benefit millions of adults

The team

portrait of charlie coyte

Charlotte Coyte

Policy Analyst
Universities UK

Julie Tam

Julie Tam

Deputy Director of Policy
Universities UK

Greg Wade

Greg Wade

Policy Manager
Universities UK