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Home > News > July 2007 > 04 July 2007

Strong university and employer partnerships key to skills challenge, says chief executive

The chief executive of sector skills council Creative & Cultural Skills has called on higher Education to forge closer links with employers to meet the skills challenge facing the UK.

Speaking at a conference of university vice-chancellors, Tom Bewick, said: "We need a world class higher education system if we are to deliver world class skills. Since the 1970s, universities have expanded massively, responding mainly to government and student demand. But in the 21st century, HE will need to also respond to employer demand - developing economically valuable skills."

"Lord Leitch, in his seminal review, has warned that the UK is on a path to 'undistinguished mediocrity' unless we raise our game on adult skills - particularly those already in the workforce. He estimates that universities need to deliver 5.5 million additional attainments if we are to secure a world class skills base".

"I believe that the answer lies in far greater co-operation between HE and employers. I would go further and say there should be business joint ventures in areas such as curriculum development, professional academies, employment services & careers advice"

"I acknowledge that the debate sometimes between employers groups and the universities is not always a harmonious one. It's why I'm very keen to explore this joint venture concept where we can all coalesce around an agenda that will deliver the right skills at the right time while respecting the fact that higher education exists more broadly to develop the citizens of the future."

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