Professor Kamal Bechkoum, Head of School of Business and Technology at The University of Gloucestershire, explains how the University is successfully building partnerships with the business community to support the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the region.
A key goal for the University is to build partnerships, which create opportunity, innovation and mutual benefit to support the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the region. The university’s bite-size training programmes, higher apprenticeships and traditional university degrees are helping companies to create more business opportunities and innovations through upskilling their current employee base and help prepare tomorrow’s workforce.
Helping businesses become more productive and competitive
Boosting skills is only part of the reason that businesses are increasingly wanting to work with The University of Gloucestershire. The university has a wealth of expertise and intellectual capital to help businesses become more productive and competitive. Its experts are supporting companies in many ways, from advising on how to make their HR procedures more efficient, improving productivity, keeping safe online and undertaking research and analysis.
The University’s School of Business and Technology is better prepared than at any time to work with the Gloucestershire business community. It is working proactively to get rid of the barriers that prevent academics and businesses working closely together and is aiming to be the anchor in the business community, to become known as the “School for Business.”
Listening to what businesses want
Key to identifying the courses businesses want is listening to their needs. This is done through formal channels, such as its business advisory boards, but is also achieved through a continuous engagement with the wider business community. The university’s new Engineering Technologies subject area (to be launched this coming September) was developed after detailed consultation with local engineering companies.
The partnership does not end there. Businesses are invited to participate in the delivery of the curriculum through providing real life scenarios for students to work on, through guest lectures and internships. The university remains focused on delivering the courses that help produce the graduates that industry needs.
The engagement with local businesses takes many forms, because different companies have tailored specific needs. For example, some companies sponsor final year students to carry out their final year project within their business environment, giving them the opportunity to work closely with their potential future employees. Others offer placement/ internships or fund apprenticeship places.
The university also facilitates round table discussions on issues that matter to the county, and organise masterclasses and provide, through its academics, a knowledge-base that can help businesses better face specific challenges.
Higher level degree apprenticeships put businesses at the heart of education
Higher level degree apprenticeships help businesses influence the learning programme at each step of the journey. Apprentices gain a university degree in a field that is prescribed by a standard developed by industry. It’s a great example of how universities and employers work closely together to develop the workforce needed by the business. It should be part of the workforce development programme of each levy-paying employer.
Driving cyber skills
Developing much-needed cyber skills is an area of excellence for the University of Gloucestershire. The cyber threat landscape keeps changing and so must our preparedness. Listening to businesses and applying that knowledge to design courses, in collaboration with some leading security firms, including Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and the NCSC, The University of Gloucestershire is one of the first universities in the UK to start offering a degree apprenticeship in Cyber Security Professional.
Its graduates are landing top jobs in companies such as Raytheon, government agencies, IBM, Microsoft and the National Computer Centre. Its graduate employability in this area is the highest possible (100 per cent) with more than 70 per cent of graduates in cyber-related courses choosing to stay in Gloucestershire.
My message to the business community is “Let’s work together on the issues that matter most to the business community in Gloucestershire. We are open for business so try us if you haven’t yet done so!”
For more information on how we can. Help your business contact us at: Tel: 01242 715400 Email firstname.lastname@example.org www.glos.ac.uk/business