Higher tuition fees and rising student expectations mean universities and employers must work together

Anne Carlisle
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Graduates Celebrate On The Southbank
The hike in tuition fees to £9000 increased students' expectations (Source: Getty)

Graduate employment figures have finally returned to pre-recession levels, but in an era of higher tuition fees and a competitive global labour market, universities must innovate to meet market demands, as well as students’ ever increasing expectations.

Businesses are frustrated with the status quo in higher education provision. Various sectors including digital, manufacturing and construction face shortages of trained professionals. At the same time, employers across the board complain many graduates don’t have a good enough grasp of basic workplace skills.

With the hike in tuition fees to £9000 came a greater expectation from students who rightly want to leave university confident they possess the skills needed to enter the workplace, and move into jobs with enhanced career progression and earning power.

Read more: Misconception about STEM subjects are failing young people

So what’s the answer? Quite simply, there must be more meaningful collaboration between educators and employers.

Producing business savvy graduates equipped with cutting edge skills and desirable industry knowledge requires Higher Education providers to understand the needs of industry, and industry to share its knowledge with them.

It’s clear that this government is determined to create more of a market in Higher Education, and it’s no longer enough for universities to rest on the laurels of their history and longevity. Students and employers need and deserve better.

Healthy markets help participants adapt and innovate to remain competitive; it’s time universities learned that lesson.

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