The government has published several documents with resonance for higher education (HE). These include: ‘Skills for jobs: lifelong learning for opportunity and growth’ (White Paper); ‘Interim conclusion of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding’; ‘Government response to Dame Shirley Pearce’s independent review of the teaching excellence and student outcomes framework’; Guidance to the Office for Students (OfS): Allocation of higher education teaching grant in the 2021-22 financial year. Some of these are long-awaited; all have important implications for the future of the HE sector in England.
The aim of the Future Ready Skills Commission (FRSC), sponsored by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is to develop a blueprint for an education and skills system that can deliver against local economic priorities, the fulfilment of individual potential and the promotion of inclusive growth.
Together with FRSC, YU organised a roundtable in October to inform the evidence gathering stage of the review. The meeting was hosted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Tim Thornton, and attended by senior representatives from each of YU’s twelve member institutions, as well as commissioners and the secretariat from the FRSC.
Guest blog by Claire Newhouse, Head of Apprenticeships and Skills, Leeds Trinity University
Degree apprenticeships present an opportunity for universities to contribute directly towards improving productivity by increasing the number of people in local and regional economies with higher-level skills. They offer a new income stream for universities, but they also provide a means for diversifying HE entrants. The dual role for apprenticeships, as a mechanism for boosting productivity and enhancing social mobility, is not without tension, although it can, at times, be taken for granted by government.
Guest blog by Professor Tim Thornton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Huddersfield
One of the key strengths of the Leeds City Region is its unique concentration of world-class universities, and the diverse contributions that each makes towards the higher-level skills and innovation agendas. As part of the wider Yorkshire region, Leeds City Region can rightly-claim to be a ‘skills magnet’, which is able to attract new forms of inward investment and act as a seedbed for regeneration and growth.