Involve employers in university studies, says education body

Employers should have more input into the design of university courses, according to a report by a higher education body.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) argues that boosting employer engagement at university level will produce more 'work-ready' graduates and help to combat the shortage in workplace skills.

The QAA makes a list of recommendations to boost employer engagement:

more opportunities for employers to give feedback to higher education providers

providers to share employer engagement best practice

more work placements

greater contribution from employers in the design and monitoring of educational studies

greater input from employers in the development of assessments.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) recently published a list of key priorities in which to solve the skills shortage:

increased collaboration between employers and education providers

more initiative from employers to shape skill development

more emphasis on apprenticeships and vocational skills

less focus on formal academic qualifications.

Nigel Holland from Holland & Co Chartered Accountants said:

“I am very pleased that UKCES is trying to address the skills shortage problem because if this initiative works it will help the productivity of businesses. There should be link between the Universities and the Employers because the graduates end up working for the Employers after they have completed their degree.

At my firm we prefer to employ graduates who have obtained a relevant degree in Accountancy and we often take on students who have studied at Liverpool or Manchester Universities. These degrees normally provide the graduates with academic experience on income tax, capital gains tax, corporation tax, preparation of financial statements and other relevant accountancy based subjects.”