I am all for shaping education to meet employers' needs. It makes good sense. But I am starting to worry that, under new initiatives, employers may start to wield too great an influence. There is a feeling that lecturers may be bypassed altogether in the process of work-based assessment. The result can only be a further watering down of the training as the prescribed course of study becomes increasingly tailored to the needs of the employer. It is hard not to draw the conclusion that the needs of the employer come above concerns about the "complete" education of the student.
As you point out, involve industry and business - but not to the detriment of the learner. The big question is, "Who is the customer - the learners or the local businesses?" The answer is surely the former, and accordingly they deserve a complete and properly-assessed education. The benefits of this education for businesses will be the reward for their consultancy.
Dilemmas should be emailed to Donald Short at firstname.lastname@example.org