UK policy and guidance is encouraging wider engagement with employers and employees by higher education providers. Government-based drivers include:
- The Leitch Review of 2006 (target of 40% of workers in 2020 having a degree or equivalent).
- The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act of 2009 (which introduced the right for employees to request time away from their duties to undertake training, and placed a corresponding duty on employers to consider such requests seriously).
- The 2011 white paper, Putting students at the heart of higher education, which encourages universities to engage with employers to accredit or 'kite mark' courses.
Interaction between higher education providers and the wider community (including employers, and consequently employees) brings with it great benefits as well as significant income to the sector. The 2013-14 Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey found that income close to £680 million was generated from continuing professional development (CPD) and continuing education courses.
What you can do
Ensure that you are delivering courses that meet the needs of industry and are relevant, useful and have a level of flexibility that enables employees to take up the learning opportunities.
Find out if your institution is ready for work-based-learning
Use our work-based learning (WBL) maturity toolkit to discover how well prepared you are to deliver effective work-based learning.
Watch this video to find out how ELRAH (The Edinburgh, Lothian, Fife and Borders Regional Articulation Hub) based at Edinburgh Napier University used the WBL maturity toolkit to support the design of a youth work degree.
Ensure easy access to your resources
Use our guide on access for engagement to give online access to systems and resources to a wider audience.
Inclusive practice is good practice - it reduces barriers for disabled learners and also provides positive benefits for other learners, find out more in our guide on enhancing staff support for learners with disabilities.
Manage your employer relationships effectively
If you’re engaging with a number of different employers, it’s important to try to manage your relationships systematically.
Develop clear and explicit strategies for engaging with employers and their employees. Embed them within other strategic priorities and monitor and develop them accordingly to ensure their sustainability. Our strategic management resources may make useful reading here.
Open up your course information
Businesses and students can find your course information more easily if you use the XCRI standard which facilitates the sharing of course-related information between organisations.
Explore related activity in the sector
We have developed a number of resources on related experiences within the sector, including the following:
- Learning in a Digital Age - a range of case studies demonstrate how institutions have used technology to attract and retain diverse groups of learners, offer professional development opportunities and enhance engagement and collaboration with employers and other stakeholders
- Describability is a toolkit that enables learning providers and employers to overcome some of the linguistic barriers of developing new courses collaboratively
- Watch Mary’s Learning Journey a video produced by the University of Wolverhampton on the experience of working with learners from local small and medium enterprises
Check out our research and development projects including: