Universities funding body eyes employee training with £12m skills projects

Universities are set to play a much bigger role in professional education and staff training, according to a strategy document  produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Skills packages, tailored to meet the needs of employers, are to be developed as part of a £12m investment in three new projects.

They will examine how universities can “increase their share of the continued professional development currently delivered by private training providers”.

Plans include accrediting employers’ existing in-house training and supplying various services such as curriculum design and assessment.

The document also proposes sending academics into businesses to conduct workplace training, the Financial Times reports.

David Eastwood, the council’s chief executive, said: “The aim is to provide more effective higher-level skills development in the workplace. The learner benefits from significant personal development as well as contributing more effectively to business solutions.”

Eastwood said only 4% of professional development budgets are spent in the higher education sector.

“It seems reasonable that if what higher education is offering is more immediately relevant to employers then I could imagine a situation where investment transferred from existing providers to higher education,” he told the paper.

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