Presentation on theme: "NICEC Seminar, November 2009"— Presentation transcript:
1 NICEC Seminar, November 2009 Higher education engagement with employers: What works in practice? Helen Connor and Wendy HirshNICEC Seminar, November 2009Research team: Richard Bolden, Helen Connor, Anthea Duquemin, Wendy Hirsh, Georgy Petrov
2 Policy over the last decade…. Employability and EnterpriseWidening participationFoundation degreesLifelong Learning NetworksLambert and Leitch ReviewsHEFCE Employer Engagement - workforce development, co-funding (ASNs), regional Higher Skills PathfindersEQLHECIFOther – eg SSCs, RDAs, KTPd, NSAs, etc
3 Study of specific examples of employer-HE involvement 27 examples examinedInterviews of those involved, often at both HE & employer ends of the relationshipCIHE examples mostly found through employer contacts – national spread, very varied types of involvementHigher Skills cases – South West & via Higher Skills project – regional, focus more on FDs and WFDHigher Skills – creative/ cultural; engineering, business improvement (leadership and management)CIHE – construction & engineering; financial/business services; IT; creative/mediaMore recently 10 case studies of institutional strategy
4 Diverse examples of engagement Foundation degree for an IT employer, individuals recruited specially, two years part-time study, HEI local to workplaceUsing existing Masters degrees in IT for employees with campus-based work location rented by companySmall design firm working with local college via validation boardLong term strategic partnership in aerospaceCivil engineering industry-led work experience for u/g’s
5 Examples contdModules for specialist financial professionals delivered across faculties, later accreditedImproving written English of engineers in workplaceRange of foundation degrees for transport employer with four HEIsTraining courses for public service staff in Islamic cultureDistance learning on business enterprise for small businesses in tourist area
6 Types of engagement influencing teaching & learning Workforce development for people already in employment, including both ‘reskilling’ and ‘upskilling’Standard or bespoke coursesExisting or development of new programmes (eg FDs)Accredited or notAt very wide range of levels of expertiseAccrediting existing workforce developmentEmployers supporting student ‘employability’Direct inputs to teaching or materialsCareers work, often linked with recruitment activityWork experiences/ work placementsInvolvement of employers in curriculum development, often linked with wider engagement eg via research
7 Who works with whom? Mapping the links Other organisations12+HE Institutions1. Direct Single HEI - Single employer2. HE Network/ Partnership Two or more HEIs - Single employer4. HE-Employer Consortium Two or more HEIs – Two or more employers3. Employer Group Single HEI – Two or more employersEmployers5. Sub-contracted Provider network managed through lead HEI6. Mediated Relationships established and/or maintained by intermediary/broker
8 What helps or hinders effective engagement? 7. Funding4. Developing, sustaining & leading the partnership3.Learning package1. Strategic fit6.Culture & systems5. Staffing2. Finding partnersDefining and focussing engagementSupporting engagement
9 Facilitators and barriers to effective HE-employer engagement Defining…2. Finding partners and establishing the relationshipa) Clarity of contact points in HEIb) Driving interest for the engagementc) Joint exploration of what is neededd) Building truste) Partnerships must be manageable1. Strategic fit for the HEI and its partnersa) Alignment with institutional strengths and strategic directionb) A fit in terms of values, ethos and ways or workingc) A real business needd) HE best placed as the learning providere) Benefits which the intended learners will easily recognise3. Designing and delivering an appropriate learning packageSupporting…7. Funding and investmenta) Recognising the real cost of employer engagementb) Public funding for developmentc) Assessing sustainability and financial riska) Creative adaptation of existing HE offeringsb) Employers can offer complementary learning experiencesc) Effective development of new or bespoke coursesd) Accreditation where appropriatee) A learning design suitable for the target group of learnersFacilitators and barriers to effective HE-employer engagement6. Culture and systems supportive of collaborationa) Flexible approach to purpose of HEb) Bridging culturesc) Time and incentives for engagement built into academic roled) Financial and administrative flexibility4. Developing, sustaining and leadingthe partnershipa) An academic with passion for the workb) Collaborative approachc) Role clarityd) Ensure buy-ine) Build in continuityf) Support at senior levelsg) Need for ongoing leadershiph) Recognise complex leadership needs5. Staff resourcing and capabilitya) Subject knowledgeb) Teaching delivery expertisec) Customer focus and service orientationd) Resourcing employer engagement in HESustaining…
10 Framing employer engagement as part of institutional strategy Institutions on their own evolving journeysEmployer engagement part of core teaching and research missions not ‘third leg’Needs to meet real needs of both employers & learners: Not ‘selling’ what HEIs think employers should buyVaried views on desired volume of WFD & importance/ attraction of accrediting workplace learning as distinctive HE offerCapacity and interest to work with employers? How big a culture shift in HE? Existing staff or new resources, including partners?Enabling infrastructure eg marketing, data & finance systemsDoes the finance of WFD or new programmes make sense? Especially once the pump-priming has gone.
11 Implications for careers work in HE Centrality of employability skills (teamwork, communication etc.) and increasing commitment to work experienceArticulation of career skills less clear, as is method of delivery of career learningIn some HEIs much increased general contact with employersEngagement activity often devolved but with central facilitationCareers services can be central to this and be one key gateway for employers to enter institution for work placements, teaching input, recruitment or even research collaborationOther careers services can become marginalised by business development/ enterprise/CPD units as main door for employersBroader skill set for careers people in HE, especially in promoting all aspects of the institution to employers and in complex partnership ventures eg with private sector training providersWho gives careers advice to employees coming into HE?
12 Reports Influence through Collaboration project at CIHE Influence through Collaboration – Main report, Summary report and case study library. Helen Connor and Wendy Hirsh, CIHEHigher skills project at HERDA South WestEmployer Engagement with Higher Education: Defining, Sustaining and Supporting Higher Skills ProvisionEmployer Engagement with Higher Education: A Literature Review (full and summary)Research led by Richard Bolden at Centre for Leadership Studies, University of ExeterWebsite: ttp://Wendy Hirsh can be contacted at Helen Connor at