Closer partnerships between colleges and universities can help students make choices “best suited to their educational needs,” a new report suggests.
In its Routes to High-level Skills report, Universities UK, the organisation representing vice-chancellors, said there was growing and diverse collaboration between HE, FE and employers and extending these relationships could help students.
The report states: “Educational institutions are increasingly competing for students, and ways to overcome or set this aside are needed for effective collaboration. Developing partnerships can require a significant time and resource input, particularly if creating a new programme, model of working or flexible learning opportunities. For collaborations undertaking innovative projects and breaking new ground, there is unlikely to be established practice or learning to work from.
It continues: “Encouraging these types of partnerships could play a key role in enabling students to make choices across different levels of education to best suit their needs.”
Not about 'FE vs HE'
Universities minister Sam Gyimah said the government’s post-18 education and funding review was looking at how to ensure the tertiary education system provides genuine choice and works better for everyone.
He added: “I want colleges, universities, business and industry to work together to ensure our education and training system is giving young people the skills they need to succeed in whatever career they choose and delivering the skilled workforce employers demand.”
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said policymakers need to find ways to develop better local links.
He added: “This report shows that colleges and universities across the country are sharing expertise and resources to provide courses that employers want. This is very different to the perception that they operate in isolation.
“The debate shouldn’t be about further versus higher education. Government, funders and regulators should focus on building strong local links, not seeing an unreal divide.”