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Businesses can benefit from FE enterprise

Colleges deserve more encouragement to share their expertise with the business community, according to a Treasury report.

Written by Lord Sainsbury, former science and innovation minister, the report says that "knowledge transfer" a common university activity is neglected in FE, where funding is more difficult to obtain.

The report says colleges and businesses should be able to benefit from each other's expertise beyond the more obvious activities such as providing training for employees. They could, for example, provide consultancy services and set initiatives in motion that create closer working links between the two.

Colleges and employers that have been lobbying for more support in this area have welcomed the report.

Julian Gravatt, Association of Colleges director of funding and development, said: "It is encouraging to see the review responding so positively to issues raised through the AoC, by giving more support through the higher education innovation fund, doubling knowledge transfer partnerships and extending these to FE colleges."

Professor Sa'ad Medhat, chief executive of the New Engineering Foundation, said: "It is interesting to see, for the first time, a government review that acknowledges the need to embrace FE colleges as well as universities in the delivery of knowledge transfer."

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