This snapshot, taken on
20/01/2011
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
 
 
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.

News Story


Stepping Higher with the Training Quality Standard


23/10/09

The relationship between universities and employers has been prominent on the agenda this week. The CBI held their higher education summit in London on Tuesday 20 October, in the wake of the publication of their Higher Education Taskforce’s report, ‘Stronger Together: businesses and universities in turbulent times’.  The summit, and the taskforce itself, have been exploring what business wants from higher education and how business and universities can best work together.

One topic of discussion on the day – which saw Lord Mandelson and David Willets in attendance – and in the report, was the role that universities can play in the delivery of workforce development solutions to employers. The HE Taskforce looked at this matter in-depth in their 2008 publication, ‘Stepping Higher: workforce development through employer-higher education partnership’. That report, which was published jointly with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Universities UK, was well received in the sector and acknowledged that there was work to be done on both sides of the fence.

The advice from the CBI, Britain’s leading employer group, resonates with the principles of the Training Quality Standard. The Stepping Higher report proposed twelve key themes for effective workforce development partnerships. To demonstrate how the Training Quality Standard can support universities in working towards these key themes, the Standard’s criteria and indicators have been mapped across to them.

‘Stepping Higher’ Theme

 

 

TQS Criteria/Indicator   

 

1. Action by universities to generate demand for higher level skills

 

arrow

 

A.0.2 Define Market
A.1.3 Manage Information

 

2. Having the right infrastructure to respond to employers

 

arrow

 

A.1 Fundamentals

 

3. The right people to deliver the programmes

 

arrow

 

A.1.1 Manage People
A.3.1 Prepare Delivery Team

 

5. Better mutual understanding – between universities and employers and between teaching staff and potential participant

 

arrow

 

A.1.3 Manage Information
A.2.2 Understand Needs
A.2.5 Present Proposals
A.3.1 Prepare Delivery Team
A.3.2 Prepare Customers

 

6. Agreement on objectives and measures of success for programmes

 

arrow

 

A.2.2 Understand Needs
A.2.4 Propose Solutions
A.4.1 Review Outcomes
A.5.2 Impact Employers

 

7. Recognising both the employer and learners as clients in different ways

 

arrow

 

A.2.2 Understand Needs
A.3.2 Prepare Customers

 

9. Adapting teaching style to learners

 

arrow

 

A.0 Strategy
A.1 Fundamentals
A.3.1 Prepare Delivery Team

 

10. Delivering programmes in ways that suit employers and participants

 

arrow

 

A.1 Fundamentals
A.3 Deliver

 

11. Considering what happens after the programme finishes

 

 arrow

 

A.4 Relate
A.6 Improve

 

The Stepping Higher report can be read in full here, while the CBI HE Taskforce’s final report can be read here, and their website is here.

Research has shown that employers perceive universities to be less flexible, less relevant and not as good value for money as other providers (CFE, Beyond Known Unknowns). The CBI has offered firm practical advice to universities on workforce development. Heeding that advice, combined with working with the Training Quality Standard will help a university to challenge those perceptions.

The Standard is clearly of interest to the university sector, and a pilot has been undertaken with six universities to understand how it can be applied. The conclusion of that pilot is that it is relevant and timely in the higher education sector. Further information about applying the Standard in a university can be found here.