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Universities showcase their role in vocational education


A new project launched today to showcase the part played by universities in preparing people for work. Universities UK and CSU (the Higher Education Careers Service Unit) aim to draw attention to the value, and increasing vocational relevance, of higher education. The ‘Employability and Diversity’ project will culminate in a conference and publication in July 2002. The project was launched at today’s ‘Bridging the Academic/Vocational Divide’ conference in London.

Professor Roderick Floud, President of Universities UK, said: "Universities make a vital contribution to the UK economy and society by providing graduates with high level skills crucial for productivity and growth. The ‘Employability and Diversity’ project aims to showcase the ways in which higher education today increases vocational relevance, by encouraging dialogue with employers and with innovative course design and teaching methods. The project will identify good practice in the sector, as well as looking to the future and considering some of the challenges ahead. It is also a welcome opportunity to challenge some of the misconceptions about vocational higher education head on."

"We want to move the public debate about employability on from lists of skills and generalised criticisms of ‘vacuous’ or ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses and ’ivory tower’ academia, to show how universities across the UK are producing graduates for the 21st century: flexible, entrepreneurial, socially-responsible and enthusiastic."

Mike Hill, Chief Executive CSU, said: "CSU is delighted to be helping to fund this vitally important initiative. It comes at a time when UK plc is looking to all sectors to help develop a high quality, high value, increasingly productive work force which can enable UK businesses and organisations to compete internationally."

"Each year, about 250,000 graduates and post-graduates leave university and come onto the labour market, and Universities UK and CSU are committed to ensuring they have first class employability skills, often gained via work experience on sandwich courses, formal placements and informal part-time and temporary jobs."

CSU is also the home for the National Council for Work Experience, which is concerned with promoting work experience as a key part of employability.


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