Education and business hand in hand

Peter-Mandelson-and-busin-001

We were interested to see this article from last week’s Guardian as it touches on a subject we have been exploring for some time. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jun/16/education-peter-mandelson Our team has visited many of the best Universities in the UK over the last three years and it is clear to see that there is a deep commitment to understanding the environments and services that students need.   Our research has explored ‘what students want’ and ‘what educators want’ however, earlier this year an F.E.  institution reminded us that there is little awareness of what industries want and suggested that we engage in a research project exploring this. As employers ourselves, we are at times frustrated with the level of adjustments  that graduates (from an academic environment) have to make during their first year of employment to be commercially effective in their workplace. This is not just confined to undergraduates but cut across postgraduate levels as well. The transition from academia to industry can be painful for many. Dr Chris Lim, our research co-ordinator, recounted that he met a consultant who shared with him that he used to head a robotics research team in a university and when he and his team were employed by Dyson to head their robotics research, he had great difficulties moving from an academic to a commercial environment. (He has since left Dyson to be a freelance consultant). Last year, we were invited to contribute in an event arranged by The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) where industry leaders came together to share how education can produce graduates that transit well into industry.  We maintain good links with the art school and employ GSA graduates regularly but we have few links with other institutions in our locale.  Perhaps we should make more of an effort.  Individual institutions have taken on this challenge and we have seen excellent examples which engage both business and the community at Glasgow Caledonian University amongst others, as ever though we are interested to see where we can add value on a more global scale. Chris is currently writing a proposal for a research project which would explore current examples of good practice and investigate key industries directly.  It is an ambitious project but one we hope to gain support for.

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