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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.

Marcus Mason, employment and skills policy manager at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"It is encouraging to see that UKCES is looking at ways to improve workplace skills in order to boost productivity, wages and social mobility in the UK.

"The UK wide Chamber network, which has more than 1,200 schools, colleges and universities in its membership, is already working to build stronger links, which will help to better prepare young people for work and address skills shortages."

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