Students and Universities - Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee Contents


Memorandum 72

Submission from the Chartered Management Institute

INQUIRY INTO "STUDENTS AND UNIVERSITIES"

Executive Summary

    — The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee as part of its inquiry into "Students and Universities".— This response is based on the Institute's extensive relationships with the higher education sector. The CMI works with closely with many higher education institutions (HEIs) to support students in four core areas: — the provision of professional development opportunities— additional student support services: online learning resources and networking events

    — career guidance and progression pathways through to Chartered Manager

    — access to employers through knowledge transfer programmes and the Institute's employer engagement activities.

    — Current Government policy does not appear to recognise that management and leadership is often a secondary discipline which can both support the employability skills of new graduates and enable experienced employees to take on greater management responsibilities by studying at an equivalent level to their initial specialist subject area. The withdrawal of funding for Equivalent or Lower-level Qualifications (ELQs) is having a particularly negative impact on management courses offered by HEIs. The Institute recommends that the Government considers the development of proposals to offer match funding for an individual's first management qualification.

    — Government must encourage leadership and management skills to be incorporated into university curricula for subjects other than traditional business or management studies. The Darzi report recently called for medical students to study leadership and management as part of their undergraduate course. CMI research found that two thirds of employers do not believe that today's graduates have the necessary employability skills when they join their organisation.[240] More support for management skills alongside degree courses is urgently needed in order to make graduates more employable, and to improve their performance during the crucial early years of their careers.

    — Working with the Learning and Improvement Agency for Further Education the Institute provides professional development opportunities and online management support for managers and teachers across many FE colleges. We would advocate that a similar management support system is implemented in the higher education sector to allow academics, management and support staff to benefit from professional management resources and development.

    — The reputation and brand of professional bodies can play a major role in helping HEIs deliver a value-added proposition to attract both employers and students. By working more closely with professional bodies, HEIs can benefit from a highly effective route to employer and learner engagement.

OVERVIEW

  The Institute is the only chartered professional body dedicated to management and leadership and consultancy. We support 81,000 individuals and have a high level of engagement with employers across all sectors throughout the UK. Our members are employed at all levels of management within business, public sector and not-for-profit organisations.

The Institute has many decades of experience of working with higher education institutions, employers and individuals around the UK to improve leadership and management skills. We have over 400 approved centres which offer our qualifications, many of which are HEIs. We wish to respond to the inquiry's questions by following the format of four topic headings, as set out in the press notice.

1.  STUDENT SUPPORT AND ENGAGEMENT

1.1  Support and pathways to enable students to gain professional qualifications

  1.1.1  The Institute has strong relationships with 37 HEIs across the UK. Through formal arrangements with each of these "approved centres", the Institute encourages students to gain professional as well as academic qualifications. The Institute allows students to enrich their learning experience through its Guaranteed Membership Scheme, under which students at participating HEIs are recognised as studying members of the Institute. This allows them to access the largest management resource centre in Europe, both online and via our library lending service, and supports student's progression into the management profession.

1.1.2  In recognition of employers' needs for employability skills, the Institute is helping students gain valuable exposure to the business environment by working with HEIs to embed the Chartered Manager designation in MBA courses. Examples include in London South Bank University, Durham Business School and the University of Greenwich Business School. The designation of Chartered Manager, launched by the Institute in 2003, demonstrates externally validated recognition of their ability to deliver significant change in the workplace. Embedding it into MBA courses also allows universities to offer additional professional recognition which can differentiate their courses from their competitors.

1.1.3  The Institute also offers HEIs a wide range of links to the employer community. For example, its collaborative research model involves academics from many universities who are looking to source employer case studies for their research activities. The Institute also provides promotional opportunities for HEIs to reach a wider employer community.

1.2  Examples of reasons for, and potential strategies to reduce the non-completion of HE programmes by students

  1.2.1  The Institute carried out research in September 2007 into the value of management qualifications,[241] which revealed some of the main barriers to people studying for a management qualification. Key barriers cited include the content being too theoretical, the impact of studying on an individual's time, and the financial costs. Similar reasons can prevent students from completing HE programmes.

1.2.2  The Committee should therefore consider the suitability of funding policies for degrees and HE programmes, and whether greater flexibility is required for workers who wish to study part-time.

  1.2.3  Government policy should also recognise how good quality career guidance for students, both before and during their university careers, can help alleviate financial concerns and pressures. This is an important part of professional bodies' work, and the Institute already works proactively with a number of partner organisations to promote management as a profession to undergraduates. For example, we recently collaborated with Inside Careers to produce a publication, Guide to General Management, which explains what being a good manager involves, outlines the management careers path and offers information, advice and guidance on becoming a professional manager.

  1.2.4  The Institute also publishes its own booklet for students "Management—A Careers Guide" which is distributed to business faculty and careers guidance centres across UK universities, and is available at: www.managers.org.uk/careersguide.

  1.2.5  Increasing access to work placements schemes can also help completion rates as students are better able to see potential employment opportunities. The CMI already plays an important role in facilitating Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. For instance, the Institute currently has a contract with AEA, one of our Approved Centres, under which approximately 300 graduates a year are placed with employers, usually SMEs, for around two years to undertake knowledge transfer projects. Each graduate is paid by the employer and supported by an academic adviser, with personal and faculty support from their HEI, or a mentor within the organisation, and a KTP assessor.

  1.2.6  The Institute is also involved in Year in Industry, a scheme that places approximately 500 high quality A-level students per annum with employers (usually SMEs) during their gap year. Most students take a Level 3 Certificate in Management while on the programme, helping them to develop their management skills and employability. The Year in Industry would benefit from further support from Government, particularly given the increasing cost of full time higher education.

1.3  Government must recognise the importance of management and leadership to subject areas other than traditional business and management degrees.

  1.3.1  By embedding these management and leadership skills into undergraduate programmes, new graduates of all disciplines would be better prepared for the workplace than is currently the case.

1.3.2  Some sectors are now addressing the need to base specific skills development on a sound foundation of leadership and management skills. The Darzi report, which looked at how the NHS could add value to its services rather than simply increasing its spending levels, states that the Government will "explore ways to ensure that the undergraduate curricula for all medical and nursing students reflect the skills and demands of leadership and working in the NHS."

  1.3.3  This acknowledgement of the importance of leadership and management in the healthcare sector is encouraging, but there are many other subject areas where this does not currently occur. A more proactive and cross-sector approach to the study of leadership and management skills, as part of university curricula, would help graduates to cope better with leadership and management demands in their early careers and throughout their working lives.

  1.3.4  Importantly, all the Sector Skills Councils list leadership and management skills as being a top priority for their sectors. For example, the Financial Services Sector Skills Council states that "…management and leadership is considered the most important issue facing the industry and the first priority for 63% of all UK financial services firms. This was the only priority common to all sectors in the industry, relevant to all occupations and involving all staff." [242]

2.  ADMISSIONS

2.1  The value of professional management qualifications and the recent ELQ funding changes

  2.1.1  Research conducted by the Institute[243] and by the Consultative Committee for Professional Management Organisations (CCPMO)[244] clearly demonstrated the value of gaining a management or other professional qualification. The CCPMO research, which was launched on 9 December 2008, estimates that the lifetime economic benefit associated with holding professional qualifications and membership of a professional institute is approximately £152,000 in today's money terms. The figure below shows the present value of additional lifetime earnings for a representative individual associated with different qualification levels.


  Figure 1. Source: London Economics based on Labour Force Survey.

  2.1.2  However, the recent changes to Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) funding means that many individuals who would wish to take a management qualification (often as a second degree) will not receive funding.

  2.1.3  The HEFCE modelling of the withdrawal of funding for ELQs by subject, mode and level clearly demonstrates the impact on management qualifications.[245] Its modelling shows that of the overall 52,504 students to be negatively affected by the proposed changes, 9,776 (19%) will be those studying business and administration. The more detailed breakdown by level indicates that of the 9,776, the majority of those affected will be those studying on a part-time basis (7,211 students). This is a disproportionate number compared to any other subject listed.

2.2  The Implementation and success of widening participation initiatives such as Compact Agreements, and the impact of the current funding regime on these objectives

  2.2.1  It is important the Committee, and in turn Government policy, considers not just the "traditional student" model, ie a young person who, having completed A-levels at 18 or 19, goes on to university. There are many others who study for degrees, vocational qualifications and who attend training programmes based at universities, on a full- or part-time basis, many of whom are mature students. Indeed, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, in 2005 52% of first year undergraduate students in the UK were mature students (ie over the age of 21).[246]

2.2.2  As mentioned above, the recent ELQ changes make it harder for people to take a management qualification, particularly on a part-time basis. The ELQ changes will also, therefore, have a similar effect on anyone who wishes to take an equivalent or lower qualification on a part-time basis. This runs counter to the Government's policies on increasing the skills base in the UK in order to remain globally competitive.

2.3  The role of Government in developing and promoting fair access and admissions policies for the UK higher education sector

  2.3.1  Given the demographic trends mentioned in the Leitch report, the Government must give more consideration to encouraging those already in the workforce to enter, or re-enter the higher education sector. It is encouraging to see that, according to recent DIUS research,[247] 56% of adults would consider higher education if they were given encouragement by their employer, and 69% of employees would do so if they were given paid time off to study. Government policy should capitalise on this enthusiasm and incentivise employers to promote adult learning, either by tax breaks or by more financial help for those wishing to study at the post-level 3 stage.

2.3.2  However, we welcome the extension of Train to Gain to higher learning levels, such as levels 3 and 4, which we hope will enable more individuals to take leadership and management qualifications. We also welcome the Government's proposals on the right to time off for training, which should allow greater numbers of managers to improve their qualifications.

3.  THE BALANCE BETWEEN TEACHING AND RESEARCH

3.1  Professional development support for HE academics, teaching fellows and employees

  3.1.1  It is important to recognise the need for academics and university employees to have their own professional development routes. The Institute has developed an online leadership and management support resource, ManagementDirect, which is used by the former Centre for Excellence in Leadership, now the Learning and Skills Improvement Agency, to support FE teachers in their management skills and professional development. We would advocate that a similar system is implemented in the HE sector to allow academics, managers and support staff, as well as their students, to improve their leadership and management skills.

3.2  The adequacy of financial support for the development of innovative teaching methods and teaching/research integration

3.2.1  It is vital that higher education institutions keep up with advances in e-learning, while at the same time ensuring that individual contact with students is maintained. Although we cannot comment on the adequacy of financial support for the development of innovative teaching methods, we have carried out some recent research into learning at work, focusing on e-learning.[248]

3.2.2  The research examined the progress made towards integrating e-learning with other learning technologies and interventions, what it termed "blended learning". It found that work-based, experiential learning is the most dominant mode of management and leadership learning, although a growing range of online management and leadership development activities are being offered by organisations. Forty seven per cent of managers reported having access to a virtual learning environment, eg a software system designed to support learning. The Institute has responded to these preferences by devising its own e-learning package for managers, ManagementDirect, which is an online resource on an individual's computer to support leadership and management skills development.

4.  DEGREE CLASSIFICATION

4.1  The relationship between degree classification and portability

  4.1.1  It is important that the Committee's final report highlights the importance of vocational and professional qualifications alongside academic qualifications. The Institute has, as mentioned above, developed relationships with HEIs to allow students to add value to their academic qualification, by gaining professional qualifications and skills, and to continue their learning throughout their careers via our range of continuing professional development resources.

4.1.2  The Committee must consider the need for HEIs to be flexible in their admissions policies and degree classifications, in terms of the portability of vocational and professional qualifications. The current disconnect between the frameworks for vocational and academic qualifications need to be addressed in order to encourage employers to be more engaged with the HE sector.

4.1.3  We welcome the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) for vocational qualifications, but it will be important that clear links across the various UK-wide frameworks are developed. Employers and individuals will need to be able to understand the comparative value of qualifications across national boundaries, and HEIs will need to have a uniform approach to recognising vocational qualifications under the QCF system.

  4.1.4  The need for clear pathways to progression in a person's chosen career is also vitally important. To address these issues the Management Standards Centre (MSC), part of the Chartered Management Institute, has worked with a number of higher education establishments in the North East to map their leadership and management degrees against the National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership. Mapping higher education qualifications against National Occupational Standards allows HE qualifications to be directly comparable to vocational qualifications, as well as other HE qualifications mapped to National Occupational Standards. This allows vocational qualifications to count towards the required number of credits for degree courses, in some cases reducing the duration of degree courses by one year or more.

  4.1.5  Encouraging the mapping of HE qualifications against National Occupational Standards also prompts HEIs to consider and assess the value of vocational courses against entry requirements for HE, thereby increasing the accessibility of higher education to a large, currently under-represented section of the population who do not have GCSEs and A-levels but who do have vocational qualifications.

  4.1.6  MSC has also developed a Foundation Degree Framework in management and leadership, which it is hoped will allow students a more accessible pathway from lower levels of learning to university-level study. The foundation degree is also mapped to the National Occupational Standards, enabling students (where allowed by the university) to gain credit against a higher qualification.

5.  CONCLUSION

  5.1  The Institute has been closely involved in DIUS' work on "Mapping roles and responsibilities of Professional Bodies, Sector Skills Councils and Higher Education". As such, the Institute is already engaged in exploring the development of models whereby professional bodies can work with HEIs and SSCs on improving cross-sector high skills such as leadership and management, as part of a continuing professional development agenda. This work is in its early stages and can be developed much further, but would deliver benefits to Government in terms of providing ready-made, on the ground contacts in terms of high skills development.

5.2  To conclude, the Institute has developed strong relationships with employers and the higher education sector and has devised some innovative models to promote professional skills within academic learning environments. We would welcome the opportunity of discussing further these activities with the Committee, either at an informal meeting or as part of an oral evidence session.

December 2008






240   Quick Reaction Survey: Higher Level Skills, Chartered Management Institute, June 2008 Back

241   "The Value of Management Qualifications: the perspective of UK employers and managers". Chartered Management Institute, 2007 Back

242   Sector Skills Agreement for the financial services sector, published by the Financial Services Sector Skills Council. www.fssc.org.uk Back

243   "The Value of Management Qualifications: The perspective of UK employers and managers" (Chartered Management Institute, 2007) Back

244   "An Economic Impact Assessment of the CCPMO", London Economics for CCPMO, December 2008 Back

245   CMI submission to IUS Committee's consultation on Equivalent or Lower Qualifications-see www.managers.org.uk/policy Back

246   Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) (2005): Students in Higher Education Institutions 2003/04, tables 1b, 1f Back

247   "University is not just for young people: working adults' perceptions of and orientation to Higher Education". Institute for Employment Studies (2008) Back

248   "Learning at work: e-learning evolution or revolution?" Chartered Management Institute, 2008. Back


 
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