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Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, outlines strategies adopted by NTU that are boosting social mobility and which helped it win the inaugural Guardian University of the Year award, a gong he believes shows how notions of excellence in HE are changing.
Mike Boxall, who has thirty years' experience as a consultant and commentator on strategic developments in higher and further education, finds evidence in recent news of growing and worrying divisions within UK higher education.
News on higher education over the past week highlights an urgent need for the sector to get to grips with ethical issues that have a bearing on the way it is managed and governed, argues Sandra Booth, Director of Policy and External Relations at Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD).
UK universities will face greater financial pressure over the next three years due to rising staff costs as they accommodate more students, retain talent and negotiate pay rises, Moody's has warned.
The Office for Students has launched a new competition for funding of up to £500,000 for universities and colleges looking for innovative ways to help students find graduate-level employment close to home.
Current evidence shows that students who move away from home to study or work are more likely to find highly skilled employment than those who stay at home. But the OfS says that many students, through choice or circumstance, study and then pursue careers in the area where they have grown up. The new funding competition will seek bids for workable programmes which help broaden choice for those graduates.
Higher education providers are being invited to propose innovative projects which test ways of improving transition into highly skilled employment for graduates and students who seek work in their home region. Between £100,000 and £300,000 per project is available, or up to £500,000 for collaborative bids involving providers working with strategic partners. The OfS suggested that projects could include, for example, those that aim to help particular groups of graduates work with partners to bring about change in the local labour market, or investigate and address the factors that influence decisions on where to work after graduation.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, said: "We are increasingly aware that many graduates have to, or choose to, stay in their home towns after they graduate. But, in some areas there are fewer graduate opportunities.
"The graduate labour market itself is unevenly distributed, with larger cities offering more varied jobs than smaller ones and rural areas. This competition will enable universities and colleges, working with students, local employers, and careers organisations, to identify the barriers to local graduate employment, and to find new solutions. This will help ensure graduates can use their degrees fully, supporting local and regional productivity, prosperity and social mobility."
Proposals must be emailed to localgradsCC@officeforstudents.org.uk by 1700 on Monday 26 November 2018.
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