Cross-border provision of public services for Wales: Further and higher education - Welsh Affairs Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Professor Deian Hopkin, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, London South Bank University


  1.  The concept of employer-engagement in higher and further education, which features largely in current government policies in England, has evolved over a number of years since the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI) and the Enterprise in Higher Education Programmes of the 1970s and 1980s.

  2.  Over the past few years, however, major investment has been made both by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE); the former has placed greater emphasis on its Train to Gain (T2G) programmes while the latter is investing heavily both in business-industry interface and in trialling the notion of employer co-funding of higher education provision. A variety of other government departments and non-governmental agencies, including the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR), the Department of Health, the Department of Work and Pensions and many others, also provide support for different forms of employer engagement and business support. Universities, in particular, draw on a variety of different sources for this work, including substantial private sector support.

  3.  This submission offers an overview of the current arrangements for supporting employer-engagement and business support by both universities and further education colleges in England. It is not, however, a comprehensive review, nor does it offer a complete spectrum of data. Instead, it points to some of the key developments which may interest the Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

  4.  The pace of change, moreover, is such that even the most fastidious examination of the present situation will not capture everything that is occurring. With over 140 institutions of higher education and 384 further education colleges in England, new initiatives are being announced on a weekly basis. The scale of the financial investments and incentives is such that most institutions are now engaged, in some form or another of employer engagement activity.

  5.  Particular emphasis is being placed on the development of Foundation Degrees, in which employers are key stakeholders, and in the provision of Continuous Professional Development. To this end, new curriculum developments are being seen with employability and business awareness becoming an ever-more important part of course content.


  6.  I have been the Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of London South Bank University since 2001. Over a 40 year career I have held academic posts in the University of London, Aberystwyth University, the Open University and at London Guildhall University where I was the Vice-Provost. I have also been a governor of two Further Education Colleges in London.

  7.  London South Bank University is an inner-city university, originally established as the Borough Polytechnic Institute in 1894. With over 24,000 students, it is substantially involved in professional, vocational and academic education at all levels of higher education. Some 8,000 individual students are trained and educated under NHS Contracts, while a large number of part-time students in engineering, science, the built environment and business are sponsored by their employers. The University has recently been awarded £3 million by HEFCE to establish and develop a dedicated Employer Engagement Unit alongside its existing Research and Business Development Office.

  8.  I hold a number of positions in relation to the broad topic of the skills agenda, employer engagement and employability including Chair of Universities UK Skills Task Group and Joint-chair of the DCSF's Higher Education Engagement Board. I am also a Board member of the Learning and Skills Council, Foundation Degree Forward and the London Skills and Employment Board, a member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education and serve on the DIUS Higher Level Skills board.

  9.  Over the past two years, as a member of Skills for Health SSC, I have chaired the new 14-19 Diploma in Society, Health and Development in which there is substantial employer involvement and I was appointed by the Secretary of State as HE Champion of the 14-19 Diplomas, alongside Sir Alan Jones of Toyota and Sir Mike Tomlinson, representing employers and schools respectively.


Policy context

  10.  Interest in the skills agenda and the general issue of graduate employability has been a feature of the policy landscape for many years. From the TVEI initiative in the 1980s and Enterprise in Higher Education, launched in 1988, to the most recent HEFCE projects in employer engagement, a significant number of policy statements and strategy documents have been generated in England in order to shape the relation between university, business and employers. Most recently, a consultation has been launched over the DIUS Higher Level Skills strategy.

  11.  The Leitch Implementation Plan advised that "... all HE institutions need to grow their capacity to engage on a large scale with employers in ways adapted to their different profiles and missions". Individual institutions have responded according to their mission. For some universities, especially the former polytechnics, direct engagement with business and industry has been a core activity for many years, sometimes from their very inception. Now even research-intensive universities are seen taking a keener interest in the development of business-facing services; a casual examination of university web-sites shows that many universities offer business services as an equivalent to academic and research activities.

  12.  It has become clear that any substantial expansion of higher education to meet the Leitch target of 40% of the workforce gaining level 4 attainment by 2020 can only be met by developing new modes of delivery, such as work-place education and training, and new ways of funding this enhanced provision. For this reason, HEFCE has been encouraged by the Government to explore the degree to which employers themselves may be prepared to contribute to the cost of higher education where there is a clear benefit to their own business.

  13.  A consultation has now been launched by DIUS, entitled Higher Education at Work—High Skills: High Value which seeks to align a number of strategic imperatives including the recently announced strategy on innovation (Innovation Nation) and the strategy on enterprise.


The role of English funding councils

  14.  Both English funding councils, the LSC and HEFCE, have played a key role in encouraging the engagement of employers with further and higher education, not least through the development of special initiatives and programmes some of which are developed in cross-binary collaboration, between universities and colleges.

Train to Gain

  15.  The Learning and Skills Council has developed Train to Gain (T2G), a national (English) skills service to support employers of all sizes and in all sectors to improve the skills of their employees as a route to improving their business performance. The Service was launched nationally in August 2006.

  16.  Well over 400,000 people have engaged in learning funded through T2G since the launch of the service. Since April 2006 419,280 starts have been delivered with 174,330 Level 2 achievements (equivalent to five good GCSEs). Cumulatively there are now 183,370 confirmed starts in 2007-08. So far 84,270 employers have benefited from the service. It is expected that by the end of 2010, over 500,000 learners will have achieved a first full Level 2 qualification through Train to Gain. However, it is accepted that this still falls short of the targets which have been set, and currently around 74% of the expected profile has been achieved.

  17.  Associated with T2G is the Skills Pledge where employers agree to train their workforce to level 2. To date 2,590 employers have signed covering more than 3.7 million employees.

  18.  The total budget for T2G in the 2007-08 financial year is £527 million and £657 million in 2008-09 reaching approximately £1 billion in 2010-11. It is accepted, however that there is a current underspend on the budget and some considerable variations in take-up between regions and between employment sector.

  19.  Further education colleges are central to this provision and most, if not all, FE colleges in England are providing training; some colleges, indeed, have engaged very substantially, such as Newcastle College which has recently bought the major part of the private training provider, Carter and Carter, which delivers training in 100 centres nation-wide.

  20.  In the absence of cross-border arrangements, T2G is not available to Welsh companies and, generally, not open to Welsh learners. By the same token, an individual with an English domicile working in Wales would not be able to benefit from the scheme.

  21.  However, if a learner is employed across the border in an English-based company, then he/she can become a beneficiary. During 2006-07 a total of 498 registered learners were recorded as having Welsh domicile, which means that they were normally employed in England. However, the T2G office in Coventry believes a number of applicants were not able to benefit because they could not demonstrate that they were normally employed in England.

  22.  Train to Gain is now being trialled at level 4 and above (graduate) in three regions of England and it is anticipated that this will be rolled out substantially in the future within the further and higher education sector.

Higher Education Innovation Fund

  23.  In 1999 HEFCE established the Higher Education Reach-out to Business and the Community Fund (HEROBAC). In 2001 this evolved into the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). The aim of HEIF is to benefit the economy, and society, through helping to improve the products and services of industry through knowledge transfer from universities. Funding is designed to build capacity and provide incentives for higher education institutions (HEIs) to work with business, public sector bodies and third sector partners across a broad range of activities.

  24.  In the first round, projects were invited and subjected to a competitive process which led to 89 awards worth more than £77 million. Thereafter, the programme has grown rapidly. In 2003 the second round was announced, with a total of 124 awards totalling £186 million over two years, of which 46 were collaborations between more than one HE institution. Around £16 million of funding went to support a network of Centres for Knowledge Exchange.

  25.  In 2005 the third round was announced with total funding of £238 million. In this round, three quarters of the funding was allocated by formula based on data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the HE-business and community interaction survey. All HEFCE-funded HEIs received an allocation on condition that they submit a plan setting out how they would use the funding to support knowledge transfer activities. The remaining quarter of the funding under HEIF 3 was allocated through a competition and eleven projects, all large-scale collaborative initiatives, were funded.

  26.  The latest round of allocations, from 1 August 2008, are formula based and amount to £396 million over three years. Individual annual allocations to institutions are capped at £1.9 million although the range of allocations over three years is between £300,000 for a very small institution to £5.38 million for the largest.

  27.  Typically, a university can establish a dedicated unit to support business development, develop consultancy, encourage the development of intellectual property and its commercial application and foster enterprise and innovation within the institution.

  28.  The cumulative effect of this investment in all English universities is that institutions have been able to develop substantial new business opportunities. It is too early to determine how sustainable some of these opportunities are, or what proportion of an university's additional income is generated by such activity. This is complicated by the fact that business engagement can often lead to research contracts which cannot be easily disaggregated from general research income.

  29.  Nonetheless, it is widely recognised that the HEIF investment, together with KTP (see below) is enabling universities to explore new income streams which were not easily available in the past.

  30.  As with Train to Gain, Welsh universities are not part of the HEIF programme and it is not clear to what degree Welsh institutions have been able to develop collaborative programmes with English institutions in this respect.

HEFCE Employer engagement projects

  31.  The most recent initiative by HEFCE has been the development of Employer Engagement projects focussing on the concept of employer co-funded provision. In the Comprehensive Spending Review, £105 million was made available through HEFCE for supporting employer engagement initiatives in English universities between 2008-11. So far, 31 universities have been allocated funds, amounting to over £50 million, to pilot the development of co-funding arrangements.

  32.  The programme consists of two elements; a grant for revenue and capital to develop the capacity of an institution to develop employer engagement activity, and an allocation of Additional Student Numbers (ASN) which would be funded at up to 50% of the usual grant, with the remainder coming from an employer. The ASNs, however, would not be counted within the contract so that any shortfall would not be subject to a claw-back from the main funded student numbers. The prime purpose of the programme is to test the appetite by employers to co-fund provision which directly benefits them.

  33.  5,000 ASNs were allocated in 2008-09 with a further 5,000 in each year to 2011. Grants have varied between £2.5 million and £8 million including a notional allocation for ASN fees. In parallel with this, a target of 100,000 Foundation Degree enrolments has been set which may include co-funded places. To date, more than 7,500 co-funded places have been contracted for 2008-09.

  34.  The 31 universities which have now been funded under this programme include institutions as varied as Leicester and London South Bank, De Montfort and Thames Valley. Some institutions, such as Derby, have managed to secure substantial further match-funding from their Regional Development Agency to enhance the programme.

  35.  Important new networks have been formed. The Higher Education Academy's Exchange Group has been restructured as a forum for all HEFCE-funded Employer Engagement Projects, enabling networking to share common issues, identify and disseminate best practice and provision of collective feedback to HEFCE during the life of the projects. The group also facilitates an easy means of mass face-to-face communication between HEFCE and the individual projects. A network of Vice Chancellors has also been created and a dedicated senior officer is based at HEFCE to oversee the programme.

Lifelong Learning Networks

  36.  HEFCE has also invested £103 million in Lifelong Learning Networks (LLNs), to improve the opportunities open to learners with vocational qualifications for them to progress into and through higher education. There are now 29 LLNs, spanning 120 universities and 300 further education colleges. Many are collaborating with employers, particularly on curriculum design, and some are adopting innovative approaches to stimulating latent demand from employers and employees through new qualifications, credit accumulation, flexible work-based delivery, and accessible information, advice and guidance.

The UK Universities Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Network

  37.  Established in 2007, the CPD Network has recently been given a £386,000 grant by HEFCE to become a structured national network based in York. Evidence suggests that it has been difficult for employers to identify which universities could provide the training they needed and who to contact within each institution. The CPD Network will assist UK universities to develop and deliver business focussed training programmes to support workforce development both nationally and internationally. Under the improved scheme, employers will be able to access a dedicated website and identify institutions which can meet their specific training needs.

London Higher Level Skills Board

  38.  In partnership with the Learning and Skills Network and London First, London Higher has received funding of £346,000 from HEFCE to take forward the first phase of a major employer engagement project in and for London entitled "A Strategic Approach to Employer Engagement for HE in London". Grant Thornton were appointed as consultants for this project following an Invitation to Tender exercise.

  39.  The core of the work consists of three research projects managed by London Higher to understand the demand from employers for higher level skills (HLS) in London, understanding the supply of HLS provision in London and offering strategic solutions to the issues identified. The first report has been completed and this lays the foundation for future work.

  40.  The project is guided by the London Higher Skills Board (LHSB) chaired by the Executive Vice Chairman of Rothschild and consists of the heads of four universities and one FE College, with senior managers from Skillset SSC, Merrill Lynch, the Royal Mail, Tubelines, Accenture and Lloyds TSB, as well as the Learning and Skills Network, Foundation Degree Forward, HEFCE and the Greater London Authority.

  41.  It is anticipated that a second phase bid will be submitted in the summer in order to implement a strategy based on the findings; this will include brokerage, information points and communications strategies. HEFCE are paying close attention to this project to see if it should be replicated in other cities and regions in England.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

  42.  Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) grew out of the Teaching Company Scheme, established in 1975 by the then Science and Engineering Research Council, and based upon the teaching hospital idea—"learning by doing". Nowadays, KTP covers most UK business sectors from engineering and science to the arts and media. The distribution of companies has seen the service sector continue to increase in importance, in line with general developments within the UK economy. In 2006 it accounted for 22% of the partnership portfolio. It is now Europe's leading programme designed to assist business in improving competitiveness and productivity and is led by the Technology Strategy Board with 17 other funding organisations.

  43.  This particular initiative is open to Welsh institutions, and Gorseinon College in particular has been highly active.

Foundation Degrees

  44.  Foundation Degrees (FD), which are two year degrees without honours, have grown rapidly since their inception in 2003 and currently (2007-08) there are 71,915 students enrolled on 2,588 courses, of which 40,445 are new entrants. A further 762 are under development. In England, universities and colleges are able to gain Additional Student Numbers (ASN) at the standard tariff in order to develop FDs and HEFCE have announced a target of 100,000 by 2010 and it is expected that this will be reached. Expansion of Higher Education student numbers in England, moreover, will largely take place through FDs rather than standard honours degrees.

  45.  More than half of FDs are taught in further education colleges but universities are fundamentally involved in accreditation and quality assurance. Under new legislation, however, FE Colleges can have the power, if they wish, to award FDs themselves subject to official approval.

  46.  Foundation Degree Forward (fdf) is funded by HEFCE to support the development and validation of high quality Foundation degrees and to support employer engagement across higher education programmes generally.

  47.  Employers are involved, in theory, in the development of FDs and through the provision of work-placements or, in many cases, work-based learning. There have been some questions about the degree to which this has always happened in the past, but indications are that employer-engagement is increasing substantially, with many new FDs emerging with named companies sponsoring them.

Sector Skills Council projects

  48.  HEFCE is also supporting particular programmes developed by Sector Skills Councils to address identified skills gaps. Examples include £7 million committed to support implementation by higher education providers of a new degree qualification developed in partnership with E-skills SSC. This is a four-year honours degree programme, BA IT Management for Business (ITMB) (Hons) created by leading international companies to ensure that graduates get the combination of business and technical skills that are vital to business today, and tomorrow. Major employers were involved in design and delivery including BT, CA, Ford, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Norwich Union and Unilever.

  49.  A further £2 million has been granted to support the setting up of Skillset higher education academies and more than 40 universities and colleges, in 2006, reported engagement with six leading SSCs—ConstructionSkills, Creative and Cultural skills, E-skills, Lifelong Learning UK, Skillset, and Skills for Health.

General exemplars of employer-engagement activities

  50.  There are a large number of exemplars of employer-engagement and business-facing activities by universities. A report by UniversitiesUK has shown that 90% of universities offer tailor-made courses for business on their campuses; 80% offer education on companies' premises and 78% report that employers are actively engaged in the development of the curriculum. This includes Universities in Wales and Scotland.

  51.  Among the many current English examples which are proving interesting are the University of Hertfordshire's acquisition of the local Business Link and the development of its "a revolving door with business"; the Automatic centre at Liverpool John Moores University; the five-stage UBIC Cycle of business and employer assistance at University of Derby Corporate; the Competitiveness Centre at Wolverhampton University; and CUE, one of the largest UK and European University enterprise organisations which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Coventry University and which employs 150 staff at the university's Technology Park and in offices in six continents.


  52.  The key to much of this new activity is the development of effective partnerships with business or employer organisations. Historically, these have not always been particularly close across the higher education or further education sectors.

  53.  Recently however, following a membership campaign by the CBI and growing recognition of mutual interest, around 45 universities have joined the organisation and increasingly play a part in its deliberations and this promises to deliver increasing opportunities for engaging with business. It is interesting to note that this renewed relationship has followed the appointment of Richard Lambert as Director-General; he was, of course, responsible for an influential report into Business-University relations which suggested that there was, in fact, better relations and prospects than had hitherto been believed.

  54.  Relations with Sector Skills Councils (SSC), too, have begun to develop. Although SSCs have been in existence for six years, it is only recently that engagement between them and Higher Education has begun to expand. Until 2007 there were only 11 members of all 24 councils (amounting to several hundred members) who had higher education connections, and of those three were members of Lifelong Learning UK, the education SSC.

  55.  However, following a major conference organised by Universities UK on the Skills Agenda, there is visible improvement in contact. An informal group of SSC chief executives has been meeting with Vice Chancellors, and both Universities UK and the Sector Skills Network are represented on the new Higher Level Skills Implementation Group.

  56.  Individual SSCs are engaged with universities to a substantial degree. E-Skills UK, for example, offer a four-year degree course, developed by member organisations such as Microsoft, Oracle, Nokia, IBM and others and now taught in 13 universities across the country. SkillsSet, the film and media SSC, has launched its own Academy of Film and Television and other SSCs, such as Skills for Health, have developed a close relationship with the sector.

  57.  Relations with employers' professional organisations (eg CIBSE, CIB, RICS, RIBA) has in the past been based on the validation and monitoring of professionally-relevant courses. In recent years, however, this has begun to evolve in the direction of partnerships. For example, CIBSE (the organisation representing the Building Services industry) has begun to sponsor academic posts—eg LSBU chair in Building Services. Such partnerships are, at present, on a modest scale but may well grow in the future.

  58.  Beyond the Funding Councils, other agencies and organisations work with Universities and Colleges to develop aspects of their work in which employer-engagement is a key feature; these include Foundation Degree Forward, the Learning and Skills Network, the Higher Education Academy and the Council for Industry and Higher Education. Much more could be said about the role of each of these.

  59.  More generally, Universities UK, the body which represents all UK universities, has established a UK Employability, Business and Industry Strategy Group which acts as an observatory for these developments and regularly meets with key agencies, including Government ministers. The Skills Task Group is a part of this wider strategy group and acts as a conduit with SSCs and other agencies as well as preparing responses to consultations, as well as organising meetings and conferences.


  60.  The new 14-19 Diplomas, developed in partnership with employers through the Sector Skills Councils, who have been managing the process, will provide a new platform for employer-engagement. The curriculum of the 17 lines of learning which will be rolled out between 2008 and 2012, involves work-experience as well as key employment-related functional skills. Universities are increasingly involved in the development of the additional and specialised elements of the curriculum, especially at the advanced level.

  61.  The expansion of apprenticeships, including graduate apprenticeships, will also have an impact on further and higher education since it is intended that there will be an alignment between the training of an apprentice and progression routes to formal education.


  62.  The whole issue of definitions is still being actively debated. There is some uncertainty over the meaning of "Employer Engagement" whether narrowly in terms of employer co-funded ASNs or more widely, encompassing all forms of HE and FE employer-focused activity. There is also some confusion between the "employability" of graduates and employer engagement in relation to workforce development.

  63.  There are important questions about the capacity of institutions to deliver all the current agenda; delivering flexible provision in off-site locations or through novel means of delivery may be difficult to arrange within the current institutional structures and practices; the availability and relevant qualifications of staff, the flexibility of timetables, the responsiveness of the infrastructure are issues that come immediately to mind.

  64.  The commitment by institutions at the highest management level, moreover, does not necessarily guarantee commitment to deliver on the ground. Time constraints, contractual issues, the absence of a clear career progression structure for academics involved with employer engagement, the current system of incentives and rewards, and traditional views about the purpose of HE and the role of academic staff are sometimes cited as reasons for non-engagement by staff. Developing employer-engagement, therefore, requires clear institutional strategies across a range of areas from human resources to the teaching and learning processes.

  65.  The financial model is not clear at present. Given the constraints on standard under-graduate university tuition fees, developing "bite-sized" provision on a pro-rata basis is not necessarily a profitable activity compared with full-cost Income Generating Activities. It is possible that post-graduate provision of this kind, where there is no constraint on fees, may be more profitable. On the other hand, focussing on post-graduate provision may not achieve the stated aim of increasing the percentage of the existing workforce with higher-level skills (level four and above) to at least 40% by 2020. There is also tension between the, sometimes, non-accredited nature of what an employer wants and the co-funding driver for institutions to require accredited provision.

  66.  There is a further issue over the scope for "closed courses" under the present public funding arrangements for universities and colleges; indeed, some have questioned whether it is permissable, under European directives, to provide HEFCE funding for courses delivered to individual employers exclusively. On the other hand, the Train to Gain model may overcome some of these inhibitions.

  67.  There is a feeling that employer-engagement may be more relevant and appropriate for certain kinds of institutions than others, building on their distinctive mission. However, given that it is post-92 universities (the former polytechnics) who are most prominent in the current wave of activity, there is a possible danger that this will be seen as activity more appropriate for less prestigious universities.

  68.  The current multiplicity of employer engagement initiatives may lead to come confusion and even duplication; the boundaries between the activities of Foundation Degree Forward, the Employer-Engagement Pilot Projects and Regional Pathfinder projects, HE@Work, Train to Gain, Lifelong Learning Networks and Student Employability projects, not to mention the curriculum developments of some Sector Skills Councils, may become blurred and, for individual employers, a significant challenge.

  69.  Currently, Foundation Degrees, STEM-provision and Employer Co-funded ASNs are the only avenues for growing student numbers within a university. In these circumstances, institutions cannot be entirely blamed if they develop provision to satisfy their own internal needs rather than directly responding to the needs of employers.

  70.  For all these reasons, the provision of clear gateways and information, advice and guidance, is all important, both for employers and for the students themselves. Equally, clarity over the terms of engagement for collaboration between institutions, especially as they develop joint provision for employer-related courses, becomes very important for what are in effect autonomous, competing institutions.

  71.  There have been some positive outcomes, in terms of exploring institutions priorities, developing a keener awareness of sustainability, forming collaborations and identifying new business prospects while the development of Employer Engagement Strategies at institutional, organizational and regional levels is enabling the mapping and integration of the plethora of initiatives.


  72.  This is a brief overview of the current situation and is intended to inform the Select Committee of some of the key developments which may impact on cross-border relations.

  73.  In particular, it appears that the absence of programmes in Wales similar to HEIF or Train to Gain limits the degree to which Welsh and English institutions can collaborate on programmes relating to business and development. While Wales has developed its own strategies for innovation, enterprise and skills, there is no obvious alignment between these and similar programmes in England and this may make joint-ventures or collaborations difficult.

  74.  There is an anomaly in the T2G programmes identified in section 12 above where an individual resident in Wales may benefit by virtue of employment in England, but the reverse does not apply. The development of a similar programme in Wales would appear to be a desirable proposition.

  75.  In England, much attention has been paid to the absence of a HEIF-type programme for Further Education colleges, and given the degree to which FE is a key player in employer-engagement through T2G, this is something which may well be addressed in the near future. The situation in Wales may well be similar.

  76.  One further concern expressed by colleagues in the sector is the difficulty of developing cross-border partnerships, apart from research. Foundation Degrees, for example, are being developed differently between Wales and England because, for example, HEFCE funds FDs through the provision of Additional Student Numbers (ASN) placing these two-year degrees on a par with standard degrees, whereas the situation in Wales is different. Given that many employers work across the boundary of Wales and England, there are interesting questions about the degree to which collaboration can effectively be produced. Recently, for example, it has been announced that a new Foundation Degree in Retail Management is being developed with Tesco PLC, accredited and delivered by Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of the Arts London. It will be interesting to see where employees of Tesco in Wales will be located in this new arrangement.

  77.  Finally, the situation in England is not static either. In September 2010, the Learning and Skills Council will disappear and there is some uncertainty, at present, about the over-all strategy for which the LSC has been responsible. A new Skills Funding Agency is due to be created and Train to Gain will become part of Business Link, but keen observers are looking to see what the new, integrated strategy may look like. There is interest in England, however, in cross-border developments and the opportunities for wider collaboration in developing employer-engagement.

6 June 2008

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