Economy calls for bespoke courses

16th January 2009 at 00:00
The education and Lifelong Learning Secretary has given colleges the same message as universities were given last year - tailor courses to the needs of the economy, writes Neil Munro

In her letter of guidance to the Scottish Funding Council on how it should support the Government's policies and priorities during 2009-12, Fiona Hyslop makes it clear that further and higher education should gear its output "to ensure the skills learned during courses of study at college or university can be utilised to best effect in the workplace." These should support the "key ambitions" to develop entrepreneurial capacity and graduate employability.

This confirms the line taken in the New Horizons report of the university taskforce last June, which set out plans for a special "horizon fund" to back teaching and research aimed at "increasing sustainable economic growth."

The Government wants colleges and universities to support the key economic sectors ministers have identified - energy, financial and businesses services, food and drink, life sciences, tourism and the creative industries.

But Ms Hyslop's letter also set out other priorities for the funding council, including continuing to widen access for all students, exporting knowledge from FE and HE to grow businesses, encouraging specialisms in institutions, and stimulating more collaboration among colleges and universities.

In addition, the two sectors will be expected to receive funding which will support some of the Government's non-economic priorities. The outcome of a "strong fair and inclusive national identity," for example, ought to lead the funding council to promote Gaelic in colleges and universities, Ms Hyslop stated.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today