The Government set out their strategic priorities for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in setting out the funding made available to it for 2007-08. These included the need to respond to the challenges set out by the Leitch Review of Skills concerning developing a high-skills workforce.
HEFCE has a two-phase approach to developing a strategy for employer engagement leading from a pilot exploratory phase to a full strategy shared with the Council, the higher education (HE) sector, and its key partners. This approach recognises that there are a broad range of collaborations which exist between HE and public and private sector organisations, as explored in the Lambert Report on Business-University Collaboration (2003).
This first phase supports a range of project activity, including three regional ‘Higher Level Skills Pathfinders’ and a group of currently 8 ‘employer engagement pilots’ (one of which the University of Hertfordshire is undertaking). The experience of institutions like The University of Hertfordshire will both help to inform HEFCE’s strategy for employer engagement, and provide valuable lessons for other HE institutions looking to collaborate with employers.
The Department has made no assessment of the employability of graduates from the university of Hertfordshire. The university is receiving funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England for its ‘UHEvolution’ project, which is engaging employers in a variety of ways and which may in due course result in improved employment outcomes for its graduates. However, this project is in its early stages and its outcomes have yet to be assessed.