I hope that the Higher Education Funding Council for England will take up the challenge posed by "One step beyond the pale" and find out what terms such as "business awareness" and "right skills" mean. To be fair, business did not invent such woolly terms; it was Hefce and the civil servants in various government departments, who appear to understand neither industry nor the academy.
At Birkbeck, University of London, most of our students are from business and continue to work while pursuing their degrees. They know exactly what they need to improve their career prospects: knowledge and skills to enable them to develop original ideas, find solutions to problems through a systematic process and reflect on their experiences critically; in other words, research skills. For that reason, businesses continue to employ our graduates, although many of them have degrees in arts, humanities and social sciences that (wrongly) seem irrelevant to some.
Li Wei, Director, Birkbeck Graduate Research School, Birkbeck, University of London.