Innovation, growth and skills

Universities play a vital role in supporting business and communities, promoting local and national economic growth and innovation, and supplying highly skilled and employable graduates. ​​


 

We encourage collaboration and the exchange of knowledge between universities and businesses, local authorities, professional bodies, charities and a wide range of other stakeholders to ensure that businesses and employers are supported to grow, become more innovative and productive, and can access the skills that they need.​
 

Supporting and promoting universities' contribution to innovation, growth and skills​

Our work on innovation, growth and skills covers a range of areas and projects. In all of these we seek to support and promote the significant efforts universities are already making.

  • Skills
  • Adult learning
  • Degree apprenticeships
  • Level 4 and 5 higher education
  • Collaboration with sector bodies
  • Knowledge Exchange Concordat
  • European Structural and Investment Funds
 

Skills

We support the development of strong links between universities and employers to boost the employability of graduates and improve recognition of the value of graduate skills. 

Adult learning 
We are calling for the introduction of a pilot scheme that will test how modular funding could address local skills gaps, with a view to bringing about longer-term change to the higher education system. 

If you have an interest in adult learning and a more flexible higher education system, we would appreciate if you could take some time to give your views in our call for evidence.

Degree apprenticeships

We are working to support the development of degree apprenticeships in England and the development of wider apprenticeships policy across the UK. Our report, The future of degree apprenticeships outlines how to ensure degree apprenticeships fully meet employers' skills needs, provide opportunities and contribute to productivity and economic growth.
  

Level 4 and 5 higher education

We are supporting efforts to increase the flexibility of higher education provision at level 4 and 5. This will help meet employer demand, increase options for learners and develop provision that better suits the future shape of work. This work includes the development of technical education at level 4 and 5. We have responded to the most recent government consultation on this topic.
 

Collaboration with sector bodies

We engage with sector bodies that are identifying higher level skills needs and seeking to increase and improve their engagement with universities. We have been working with the digital sector, the film and television sector and the financial services sector.
 

Knowledge Exchange​ Concordat

The development of the concordat has been led by UUK and GuildHE in partnership with Research England, NCUB and PraxisAURIL as well as other funders and stakeholders. The concordat seeks to both enhance knowledge exchange within universities through the exchange of good practice, highlight the good practice that exists and act as a catalyst for collaboration between universities and with employers. 
  
The Knowledge Exchange Concordat has been published on our website. For further details of the implementation of the concordat, please go to www.keconcordat.ac.uk.

UniversitiesUK and GuildHE have outlined the importance of the knowledge exchange concordat and their endorsement of it in a supporting statement.
 

European Structural and Investment Funds​

In England we represent the sector in the European Structural Investment Funds Programme, which universities use to help them collaborate with businesses, charities and local enterprise partnerships on innovation, skills development, and business support and advice.​
 
England has been allocated €6.9 billion from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) between 2014 and 2020. We are working closely with the government on the placed successor to the ESIF Programme the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
 


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Briefing: English devolution

Briefing
28 January 2016
English devolution is a complex and evolving policy process, and universities should have a central role to play.

Supply and demand front cover

Supply and demand for higher-level skills

Report
9 December 2015
As the UK economy edges out of recession and employment levels begin to rise, attention has increasingly shifted towards the supply of higher-level skills.​

Graduates, skills and jobs front cover

Briefing: Graduates, skills and jobs

Briefing
9 December 2015
This briefing considers the current and future demand for graduates, the numbers of graduates in non-graduate jobs and the role of skills mismatches, and the need to review the changing landscape of vocational education and patterns of provision.

Report front cover

Assessment of university involvement in ESIF 2014–2020 programme

Report
25 November 2015
The findings of a survey to assess the extent to which universities in England are engaging with the new ESIF programme.

Making the most of data report cover

Making the most of data: Data skills training in English universities

Report
13 July 2015
Data presents a significant opportunity for the UK. Businesses are increasingly collecting and analysing data to enhance their productivity.

Report page

Why invest in universities?

Report
25 June 2015
Universities are essential for the UK's modern knowledge economy. The UK has a university sector that many other countries aspire to emulate.

Briefing front cover

Parliamentary briefing: Westminster Hall Debate – Science and research in the UK and regional economies

Briefing
23 June 2015
This briefing sets out the economic benefits of investment in science and research and the role of public investment within this.

Report cover

The economic impact of Queen's University Belfast on the Northern Ireland economy

Report
3 April 2015
This study provides an analysis of the economic impact of Queen’s University Belfast and its students on the Northern Ireland economy.

Factsheet front cover

Innovation and growth factsheet series: University involvement in ESIF 2014–2020 programme

Factsheet
20 March 2015
This factsheet summarises a recent assessment conducted by UUK, HEFCE and the Department for Communities and Local Government, exploring the extent to which universities in England are engaging with the 2014–2020 ESIF programme.

Report cover

Forging futures: building higher-level skills through university and employer collaboration

Report
22 September 2014
Case studies from across six industrial sectors highlight the variety and depth of collaboration between employers and universities.

Events

Blog

The careers services team at Royal Holloway, University of London

How university careers services are supporting graduates through Covid-19

25 June 2020
Gabi Binnie from AGCAS explains how university careers services moved their provision online almost overnight following lockdown, in order to ensure students and graduates continue to be supported.

Seizing the opportunity to offer more people the chance of success through higher technical education

21 November 2019
UUK's Greg Wade on the 'missing middle' of level 4 and 5 qualifications, and shares UUK's recommendations for government.

News

A business is born every two hours at UK universities

28 August 2020
​University graduates start 4,000 new businesses and are responsible for supporting tens of thousands of jobs every year.

group of students looking at their results

Record numbers of 18-year-olds and applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds accepted into university

13 August 2020
UUK responds to the record numbers of 18-year-olds and applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds that have been accepted into university in 2020

The team

portrait of charlie coyte

Charlotte Coyte

Policy Analyst
Universities UK

Julie Tam

Julie Tam

Deputy Director of Policy
Universities UK

Greg Wade

Greg Wade

Policy Manager
Universities UK