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Gateway to university expertise now provides 'smart match' with business

A platform providing a single access point for businesses to university expertise and funding opportunities has been further developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business, Research England, and UK Research and Innovation, to help 'smart match' business and industry with higher education institutions, in a bid to boost R&D collaboration. Shivaun Meehan, Head of Communications at the NCUB, outlines the latest features of Konfer.

Survey pinpoints ways to make postgraduates even more satisfied

Eight out of 10 postgraduate students taking a taught course in the UK report continued satisfaction with the experience over a five-year period.But a survey of more than 70,000 postgraduates across 85 higher education institutions who responded to the Advance HE Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) highlights for the first time areas where institutions could do better still to boost satisfaction levels.

Government should listen to employers on graduate employment

The next government should adopt policies on graduate employment that reflect a less simplistic outlook than the current regime, argues Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer at the Institute of Student Employers, which has just published its manifesto wish list.

Postgraduate researchers report high anxiety levels

Postgraduate researchers are suffering high levels of anxiety and many want more support, according to new research.

Employer-sponsored degrees deserve more support, says report

Employer-sponsored degrees should be given the same support as higher-level apprenticeships according to a new report.

The Higher Education Policy Institute says this kind of study has great benefits for employers, the country’s economy and for individuals – who “earn as they learn” and gain a degree without getting into debt.

But the report's author, Professor Dave Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University and Chair of the Million+ group, has also warned that if employer-sponsored degrees are not supported by the new £3 billion-a-year apprenticeship levy, there is a risk employers will switch their support from degrees to apprenticeships.

One in ten students in higher education is currently sponsored by an employer. Typically, someone doing such a degree will study one-day a week and work for the rest of it, while also receiving on-the-job training.

The report argues that degree and higher-level apprenticeships enjoy substantial subsidies from the government, and that the playing field between these and employer-sponsored degrees should be levelled.

It says employer-sponsored degrees are around six times cheaper for taxpayers than a typical three-year undergraduate degree – a figure based on new analysis by London Economics for this report.

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said more people could benefit from being sponsored to do a degree.

“Employer sponsored degrees are a great way to provide job-ready skills alongside an academic qualification. They deliver higher productivity for employers and higher wages for individuals. They are nearly six times cheaper than regular degrees for taxpayers and the students can emerge with no debt.”

The report calls for parity between the way that apprenticeships and employer sponsored degrees are funded, “allowing the schemes to compete on an equal footing” and for employer sponsored degrees to be promoted in schools and through the media.

It also says the government should look at the impact of policy in this area on social mobility and consider bringing in a “Higher Education Salary Sacrifice Scheme”.  This would involve an employer paying universities upfront and the student paying the employer back through their before-tax salary.

Professor Phoenix (whose own university, London South Bank, has nearly 7,000 sponsored students), said he supported the government’s new degree apprenticeships, as a “welcome addition to professional and technical education”.

But he added: “Ministers must ensure they complement rather than disrupt existing employer  sponsored degrees. This report shines a light on the huge value of employer-sponsored degrees and shows how a good policy could become a great one.”

 

 

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