The Education Committee has today (8 Dec) published the written evidence for its inquiry into value for money in higher education.

This is the written evidence from Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recommending to:

Enhance the diversity of provision within higher education so that it is responsive to the needs of both students and employers

As the world of work changes, so too must our universities. To ensure higher education can continue in its vital role as a skills provider for the future, more needs to be done to diversify the forms of provision on offer and allow additional routes to higher skills.

With future prosperity reliant on the skills and ingenuity of our people, no industry has a bigger part to play in supporting economic and social growth than our world-leading higher education sector.

As well as being central to the UK’s innovation ecosystem, the higher education sector will be vital in helping to develop and supply the skills pipeline necessary to face future challenges, with the value that graduates bring to business being clear. According to the latest CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey, over the past year, more than eight in ten businesses (85 per cent) have maintained or increased their levels of graduate recruitment.

In addition, figures from the Department for Education for England make clear, graduates have consistently had lower unemployment rates than non-graduates, with employment rates for graduates in 2016 being 88 per cent for postgraduates and 87 per cent for graduates compared to 70 per cent of non-graduates.

With the world of work changing, the UK urgently needs to address its skills shortages.

Businesses are already reporting skills shortages across the UK’s nations and regions – and when it comes to filling skilled roles in the future, many are not confident they will be able to find sufficient recruits. Whilst it is hard to predict how access to skilled migrants might change as the UK leaves European Union, it is clear that additional routes to higher skills will be of increasing importance as three quarters of businesses (75 per cent) expect to have more job openings for people with higher-level skills over the coming years with just 2 per cent expecting to have fewer.

To help support more people into higher skills, universities and the government need to do more to develop non-standard ways of engaging with higher education.

Alongside the traditional routes, such as first-degree courses and postgraduate study, the government – and business – should do more to encourage flexible provision within universities. This includes, but is not limited to, part-time study, degree apprenticeships, sandwich degrees, accelerated degrees, distance learning, work-related learning and mixed modes of study.

The CBI has welcomed the government’s commitment to introduce income contingent maintenance loans for part-time students, however this support also need to be made available to those undertaking distance learning as well as lower level qualifications (such as Certificates, Diplomas and Foundation Degrees). This is essential given the diversity of students who require non-standard university provision.

Due to a host of other factors – such as work commitments, caring responsibilities, physical and/or mental health issues (to name just a few) – non-standard provision is often the only way that these groups can access higher education and develop their skills. As we move towards an economy which increasingly needs more high skilled workers, this is an urgent and pressing concern.

As the 2017 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey outlined, due to the UK’s changing occupational structure, nearly half of all jobs (47 per cent) by 2024 will require workers to have completed some form of higher education (level 4 and higher, though not necessarily at level 6), and with the IPPR reporting in July 2017 that two-thirds of the workforce of 2030 have already left fulltime education, allowing workers to retrain whilst in employment will be essential.

For example, Coventry University and Unipart Manufacturing Group have come together to create the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) which represents a bespoke ‘faculty on the factory floor’ aiming to develop industry-ready graduates.

Or Middlesex University who, as a ‘University for Skills’, are developing a range of Apprenticeship Degrees in Sales, Management, Digital Solutions, Building Information Modelling (BIM) Management, Construction, Creative and Aviation.

The Apprenticeship Levy should be developed into a more flexible ‘skills levy’ so that it can better meet the needs of business and learners.

The CBI has welcomed degree apprenticeships as an exciting new route into higher education which could prove attractive to those who would not traditionally undertake degree-level study.

However the 61 per cent decline in apprenticeship starts since the introduction of the Levy underlines why the CBI has consistently called for the Levy to be made more flexible. A more flexible levy could allow higher education institutions to use funds towards a variety of different types of training that better meets the needs of our economy as well as students themselves.

This includes supporting more part-time provision, employer-sponsored sandwich degrees and postgraduate researcher training as well as extending support for those undertaking level 4 qualifications.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel commented on this video 8 hours 3 minutes ago

The College of the Future
UK-Wide Final Report

The College of the Future UK-Wide Final Report

The College of the Future UK-Wide Final Report

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 8 hours 4 minutes ago

The College of the Future UK-Wide Final Report

The College of the Future UK-Wide Final Report

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel The College of the Future
UK-Wide Final Report
8 hours 3 minutes ago
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 8 hours 4 minutes ago

RT @julia_heap1: Great to read this @YourAAT, started my own #AAT journey in my early 20’s & never looked back! Investment in lifelong lea…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page