Ministers must cough up £17.5m to meet careers goals, say v-cs

November 15, 2002

The government must plough an extra £9.6 million a year into higher education, as well as £7.9 million in one-off capital expenditure, if careers services are to meet  graduate employability targets, a report from Universities UK says this week.

Modernising HE Careers Education: A Framework for Good Practice builds on a 2001 report written for the Department for Education and Skills by Manchester University vice-chancellor Martin Harris.

It also contains research, by Nigel Brown Associates, on the 41 recommendations made in the Harris report. It says that "although all of the higher education institutions that we visited were at least in principle implementing the recommendations in the Harris report, nearly all would require some additional staffing resource to be able to meet the level of demand and quality envisaged by Harris".

It found that careers services in old universities were better funded than those in new. "This partly reflected the ability of the pre-1992 universities' careers services to earn external income, particularly from employers participating in careers fairs," it says.

The UUK and the Standing Conference of Principals also launched a report this week, Rick Trainor, vice- Student Services: Effective Approaches to Retraining Students in Higher Education chancellor of Greenwich University and chair of the student services project, said: "Achievement of the government's 50 per cent widening participation  target is dependent on the sector recruiting and supporting increasing numbers of non-traditional students through to successful completion.

"As well as recommending additional funding, the report also calls on the Higher Education Funding Council for England to refine its funding methods and performance indicators to better reflect student success.

Higher education minister Margaret Hodge was expected to attend the launch of the reports today and to stress that supporting students most in need is essential to raising standards and making higher education accessible to all.

• Barry Sheerman, chairman of the education and skills select committee, will tell a University Vocational Awards Council conference this week that the government has been too slow to wake up to skills deficiencies in the UK.

He will say: "A green paper on 14 to 19 and an initiative to have a skills strategy by June 2003, all looks a little late and a little lame.

"Relevant and accessible partnerships to allow all abilities to prove their talent through FE and HE are desperately needed."

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