Memorandum submitted by Professor Deian
Hopkin, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, London South Bank
SECTION A: EXECUTIVE
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
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
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
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.
SECTION B: THE
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
SECTION C: FACTUAL
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 WorkHigh 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 SSCsConstructionSkills, 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
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
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
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 postseg 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
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
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
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
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