England to be the best place in the world for business-university collaboration

Plans to strengthen business and university engagement will include improvements to the regime for sandwich courses, promotion of a new framework for business and universities to work together and ensuring a better fit between graduates and jobs.

In the Higher Education White Paper the Government asked Professor Sir Tim Wilson to carry out the review into how university-industry collaboration can be improved.

The Government’s plans include:

  • Supporting the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) to create a National Centre for Universities and Business. The centre will focus on strengthening the strategic partnership between universities and business with a view to driving economic growth and recovery.
  • Stimulating student demand for sandwich courses by instituting a 15 per cent cap on fees for a sandwich year. This more reasonably reflects the costs of a sandwich place year and will encourage universities to invest in and expand sandwich course provision.
  • Extending the Graduate Talent Pool service for a further three years. This is a high-quality online resource that brings together graduates and businesses, and advertises internship vacancies, which now includes a strict quality assurance process.
  • Working with graduate employers to promote fair recruitment and the use of new more detailed records of student achievement.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “Higher education is about much more than economic success, but universities and graduates are vital to economic growth. We must ensure that graduates enter the labour market equipped to succeed, that employers know how to engage with universities and that we make good use of new research discoveries.

“Sir Tim’s excellent review found lots of good individual initiatives but we need to learn from what works and spread that across the country. The Government will play its part in helping those on campus work with those off campus.

“We are very grateful to Sir Tim for his hard work, and we accept his recommendations. We will now improve the regime for sandwich courses, promote a new framework for business and universities to work together and ensure a better fit between graduates and jobs.”