The future of employer-university collaboration — a vision for 2030

From fixes to foresight: Jisc and Emerge Education insights for universities and startups. This new report looks at how six universities have collaborated with employers.

Employer-university collaboration report front cover

The disruption to ‘business as usual’ for UK higher education in the COVID-19 pandemic has brought employability outcomes to the fore, as students scrutinise their future prospects and employers seek ever more vital digital skills.

This new report looks at how six universities have collaborated with employers, the barriers and strategic considerations, and the areas that display the most potential for growth over the next decade through the harnessing of technology and the involvement of edtech startups.

The world of work is changing at an unprecedented rate

More than 1.2 billion employees worldwide will be affected by automation technologies over the coming decade, and mass reskilling/upskilling programmes will be required to meet these challenges. Given the size and complexity of this global skills gap, neither employers nor universities will be able to solve this problem alone.

However, existing collaborations are often limited by two obstacles: speed and scale. Universities were not typically set up to adapt at the pace employer needs are changing, and partnerships are time-intensive and complex to set up. A key solution, therefore, to the widening skills gap is technology-enabled mass employer-university collaboration.

The future of employer-university collaboration - a vision for 2030 explores the specific ways that employer-university collaboration can be scaled effectively and rapidly, illustrated with short case studies involving six universities. In the short term, these approaches can be seen as examples of best practice, as universities seek to enhance their digital offerings. Looking ahead to 2030, the report sets out a vision for mass employer-university collaboration that will enable up-to-date, industry-relevant education for all learners - with significant wider economic and social benefits.

The report includes:

  • Case studies from six UK universities
  • Insights around the challenges faced by universities
  • Practical recommendations for ways that universities, employers, government and technology companies can work together to accelerate the growth of mass employer-university collaborations
  • Market map for employer university collaboration
  • Q and A with Shawn Lestage, director of operations, Riipen

Download the full report (pdf)

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About this series of reports

This report is part of a series from Jisc and Emerge Education examining the most urgent priorities to be faced by university senior leaders over the next three years. They explore how edtech startups may provide the innovation and agility needed to navigate these rapidly changing times and build a future-resilient higher education sector.

Other reports in the series include:

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JiscandEmerge Education