Business Engagement Strategy


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Business Engagement Strategy

  1. 1. prepared by Assistant Director (Regional Development) draft current June 2004 amended approved by Planning Board (7 June 2004) review date 2007 S2 Business Engagement Strategy ‘Sharing where it Counts’ June 2004
  2. 2. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 Contents 1. Introduction....................................................................................................................... 3 2. University Mission and Strategic Plan .............................................................................. 3 3. Vision for Business Engagement and Principal Aims ...................................................... 4 4. Organisational Structure .................................................................................................. 9 5. Relationship with Other Corporate Strategies.................................................................. 9 6. Current Strengths and Emerging Issues ........................................................................ 10 7. The Development of the Business Engagement Strategy ............................................. 11 8. Monitoring, Evaluation and Review ................................................................................ 11 9. Glossary of Terms .......................................................................................................... 12 Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 2 of 12
  3. 3. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 1. Introduction 1.1 This document sets out the Strategy for Business Engagement for Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College (the University College) for the period 2004–2007. This Strategy will be an active, working document that reflects the need to respond to changes in the world of industry, commerce and community organisations and recognises that this is a process of constant evolution by: co-ordinating the work of the University College’s faculties; recognising their diversity; building upon their strengths; taking a collaborative and coherent, holistic approach. 1.2 The Strategy provides a clear focus for the University College to enable it to respond effectively to a rapidly changing market place. At the core of the University College’s developing Regional Strategy lies both the statement on widening participation, which was submitted to HEFCE (Higher Education Funding council for England) in Autumn 2000, and initiatives under the HEROBaC (Higher Education Reach Out to Business and the Community) funding. However, in line with national trends, it is recognised that the University College needs to be more explicit in setting out its Business Engagement Strategy. 1.3 The Business Engagement Strategy recognises the need to incorporate business engagement into the University College’s core business as a third funding stream in line with Circular 2003/58 Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) Round 2. Business engagement has previously primarily relied upon good practice in the University College’s faculties and central services departments with a small unit (‘Business Exchange’) playing a co-ordinating role. The purpose of this strategy is to provide more cohesiveness and congruence in order to make a greater impact upon local and regional employers, public bodies and communities. 1.4 This Business Engagement Strategy builds upon the Business Exchange’s strategic aims set out in the University College’s Strategic Plan 2002–2007 and the work of successful Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) and the Centre for Rapid Design and Manufacture (CRDM) to improve: provision of academic expertise to the needs of business development and growth; the rate at which staff in all faculties respond to the need of business; the extent to which students take-up accredited work-based learning experiences; the institutional response to the short, medium and long-term employment needs of local and regionally based businesses. 1.5 The University College recognises its Business Engagement Strategy sits within a local, regional and national context and that it must respond to regional priorities as expressed by the South East England Regional Development Agency (SEEDA), the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) and the Local Learning and Skills Council (LLSC), as well as national issues articulated by central Government and HEFCE. 2. University Mission and Strategic Plan 2.1 The University College’s mission is based upon identified values that it believes are fundamental in determining its role and position within the sector as a whole, namely: Commitment to a regional role as the only publicly funded higher education institution in Buckinghamshire; Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 3 of 12
  4. 4. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 Clear commitment to social inclusion and raising overall participation in the 18–30 age group to 50% by 2010; Belief in the provision and continuous development of an innovative portfolio that is directly vocational and focused on the employability of students; Belief that teaching and learning and the students’ overall experience are central to the success of the institution and its mission; Commitment to supporting a sustainable social and economic environment in the region. 2.2 The University College is actively engaged in the three core activities of teaching, research and, through consultancy and professional practice, the provision of services to the broader external community. This Business Engagement Strategy sets out the way in which the University College will engage with the external community as it gives a greater priority to the development of consultancy, bespoke training and working with community organisations. 2.3 The University College is increasing the priority and emphasis given to the development of consultancy and professional practice within the overall body of its academic community. In particular, the University College seeks to exploit the increased potential for institutions to engage more proactively in the economic development of their regions and to form closer links with their local businesses. As such, the role and importance of external engagement, both in terms of income and contribution to the community, is increasing within the institution’s portfolio of core activities. 2.4 The vision of the University College is encapsulated in the following statement: “Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College will be an increasingly significant University within the region by bringing opportunities to its community through teaching, scholarship and research”. 2.5 The University College recognises the importance of effective strategies for widening participation and engaging with the wider community (including businesses). The Institution is firmly rooted within the regional community and, in its ethos and course provision, seeks to lead the way in responding to the increasingly dynamic nature of modern society. 2.6 The strategic importance of linking with other local providers has led to the University College enhancing its strategic alliances with four regional further education colleges in order to develop an integrated planning framework for higher education provision across the region as a whole. The current proposal aims to integrate each of these further education partners into the Business Engagement Strategy. The Widening Participation Strategy is also a key driver in influencing third stream funding and the overall Business Engagement Strategy. 3. Vision for Business Engagement and Principal Aims 3.1 The success of the Strategic Plan is reliant on the effectiveness and commitment of all of the University College’s staff and their willingness to respond to new and changing environments. Engagement with businesses and the local community is challenging and requires staff to adopt a broad, collegiate view of their role and the University College’s position within the regional and local community. 3.2 The University College has identified the following four strengths in terms of its greatest contribution to social and economic development: Access to education; Developing local partnerships; Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 4 of 12
  5. 5. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 Management development; Meeting regional skills needs. 3.3 The Business Engagement Strategy will encourage a culture across the University College that is positively disposed towards partnerships and collaboration and which recognises the importance of creating and nurturing relationships with industry, commerce and the local community. 3.4 The University College has a vision to develop its relationships with businesses and the local community in the following key areas: 3.4.1 The University College will work with local and regional employers for mutual economic and social benefits. (a) The University College will respond to the demand from local and regional employers and the local community, by nurturing positive partnerships and collaborative ventures. In order to achieve this, the University College will: develop more roles that combine teaching with other duties, including industrial liaison; pursue a policy of encouraging staff to assume responsibilities to work with businesses and community organisations that is articulated at faculty level; ensure that each faculty and appropriate central department adopts a high profile target for involving staff in working with business and/or community organisations; encourage staff development activities that enable staff in faculties and appropriate central departments to respond to the changing needs of industry; work with local and regional partners to ensure that the University College’s students enhance their employability by having the appropriate knowledge and skills. (b) The needs of local and regional businesses and the local economy will be addressed by seeking to increase access to public funded grants that support partnership activities between businesses and the University College. In order to achieve this, the University College will: gather the necessary intelligence on business need by working with industry and commerce and apply for funding grants to aid knowledge and technology transfer; set targets for business and research related funding for each faculty that will be mapped to create a University College profile for knowledge and technology transfer. (c) The University College will make it easier for businesses to ask for help, advice and guidance with regard to solving business problems by developing the central facility to more effectively signpost enquiries to the appropriate person/department for the provision of education, training, research or consultancy services in cases where the enquirer does not go directly to a faculty or central department. In order to achieve this the University College will: review the role and function of the Business Exchange and explore how the existing unit might best identify academic expertise and respond more effectively to external enquiries; review the University College’s strengths in the provision of bespoke training, consultancy and accredited courses; Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 5 of 12
  6. 6. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 undertake an environmental scan to map the capabilities of external organisations to provide business solutions so that companies can be re-directed to them when appropriate; proactively engage with businesses and sector skills councils to enhance and promote the University College’s consultancy, education and training services. (d) Staff within BCUC will be supported and encouraged to identify research opportunities that have a commercial outcome. To achieve this, the University College will: develop a set of internal policies, procedures and agreements on the creation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and the relationship between the University College, the individual creator(s) and external clients; agree a revised set of rules, regulations and agreements between all parties within the University College so that all contracts issued by the University College are congruent with these procedures; work with SEEDA, BEP (Buckinghamshire Economic Partnership) BLLP (Buckinghamshire Lifelong Learning Partnership), BCC (Buckinghamshire County Council) and local business organisations to best match the needs of industry and commerce to the ability of the University College to exploit intellectual property. 3.4.2 The University College will work with employers and other stakeholders to improve the relevance of the curriculum and the employability of BCUC’s students (a) In order to be responsive to the needs of the local economy and local and regional employers BCUC will improve the quality of labour market intelligence made available to faculties. To achieve this the University College will: review the way the Planning Unit gathers, processes and disseminates labour market intelligence to the University College’s directorate and faculties; identify how the faculties currently gather labour market intelligence and apply it in their academic and business planning cycle; use the Graduate Destination Survey and the information gathered by the Careers Service on local employers and employment needs in a more systematic way; explore ways in which ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) collation and dissemination could be improved to increase the faculties’ responsiveness to the needs of local businesses and community organisations; assess the learning and development needs of SMEs in the region. (b) An improved curriculum offer will be provided to employers by involving them in planning future provision and in the development and delivery of the curriculum. To achieve this, the University College will: make sure that the curriculum meets employers’ needs by involving them more extensively in all appropriate course validations and revalidations. discuss the content of the curriculum and the mode of delivery with current and prospective customers; involve employers in the delivery of the curriculum so that it reflects the needs of local and regional employers; Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 6 of 12
  7. 7. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 improve its communication channels with alumni in order to benefit more fully from their involvement in local and regional businesses. (c) Students’ future employability will be improved by enabling more of them to undertake planned business placements and work experience during their studies. The University College will: discuss the role and value of business placements with local employers in order to identify their needs and the best combination of timing, duration and role that meets the needs of the student and that of the employer; strengthen the Careers Service to enhance the identification of work experience opportunities that will support students’ employability and employment opportunities; increase the number of students offered work experience opportunities; develop ways for enhancing students’ part time employment experiences; integrate the idea of lifelong learning into course provision to encourage students to return to studying at appropriate points in their lives and careers. (d) BCUC will respond to employers’ and other community partners’ needs by reviewing provision in order to deliver an appropriate mix of accredited and full cost short courses, either on campus or on employers’ premises. The University College will: undertake an audit of current short course provision and compare this with offerings and activities of other universities and university colleges; build on connections and recognised links that faculties already have with employers; set challenging targets for increasing the volume and value of short course provision to meet employers’ needs; identify the University College’s Unique Selling Point (USP) that will make it stand out from the competition from private sector training and consultancy organisations; raise the profile of third stream provision by creating a Business and Community Working Party that reports to the Planning Board. (e) In order to meet the needs of employers for flexible delivery BCUC will review and develop a range of modes of delivery, including remote learning, work based learning, work related learning and e-learning. The University College will: canvas current and prospective customers on a regular basis on their preferred modes of delivery and respond positively to them; investigate ways that other universities/university colleges structure their provision and the extent to which others use more flexible means of delivery; develop the expertise and capacity to deliver the curriculum in a more flexible fashion; actively develop a work-based learning portfolio; set targets for increasing the volume and range of provision that is delivered by more flexible means of delivery to meet the needs of students and employers. Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 7 of 12
  8. 8. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 3.4.3 Work with Community Organisations (a) The University College will respond to local and regional demand by building on existing strong links to develop creative community programmes. To achieve this the University College will: enhance the University College’s awareness of the needs of the community by securing representation at an appropriate level with all major local community groups. The University College will use these opportunities to support community groups identify their potential and to make them aware of the University College’s facilities and commitment to supporting them; identify key areas where the University College would be able to lead on community issues; monitor community programmes to identify those offering the most synergy with the University College’s aims and objectives. (b) Community regeneration and community activity will be incorporated into both mainstream activity and funding streams in recognition of, and response to, the stimulus already provided by funding for widening participation. The University College will: create appropriate structures within the University College so that it can maximise funding from a range of public and private sources to enable it to respond more readily to the needs of local employers and community organisations; include community and employer engagement as one of the University College’s strategic objectives and ensure that funding is made available to achieve its objectives; play an active part in the Aimhigher Partnership to widen and increase participation in higher education by building on existing widening participation programmes within the region; build on existing partnerships with community organisations in order to further strengthen its links with them. 3.4.4 Support for the Creation and Sustainability of Small Businesses (a) BCUC will support the development of the High Wycombe Enterprise Hub and Chiltern WoodWorks Enterprise Gateway in their provision of services and support for new businesses and entrepreneurs. To achieve this the University College will: work with the Directors of the Enterprise Hub and Enterprise Gateway to create synergy between the needs of start up companies associated with them and BCUC’s faculties to facilitate knowledge and technology transfer; to explore the most appropriate ways of encouraging enterprise, innovation and start up companies across the University College’s faculties; to create a partnership with the Buckinghamshire Economic Partnership (BEP) and Buckinghamshire County Council’s (BCC’s) Economic Development Unit to help small companies to survive, grow and develop; to develop a coherent University College programme to promote enterprise and innovation across all undergraduate and post-graduate programmes and support students as they move into employment or self-employment. Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 8 of 12
  9. 9. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 4. Organisational Structure 4.1 The University College has a Regional Development Unit that seeks to develop closer links with business and community organisations and to promote arrangements for increasing levels of access to the University College’s resources, products and services. There are six faculties that focus on student academic programme provision across a broad portfolio of higher education with a small element of further education. There are also a range of central service departments, the heads of which report to one of the three Deputy Directors who have functional responsibility for support services. 4.2 The responsibility for the strategic direction of Business and Community Engagement rests with the Assistant Director (Regional Development). The Regional Development Unit has responsibility for undertaking new initiatives to promote engagement by students and staff with business and community organisations and to seek external sources of funding to support the University College’s Business Engagement Strategy. 4.3 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are an important element vehicle for linking academic expertise to local businesses and the focus of this work is currently within the BCUC Research Unit where it will relate more directly to University College Centres of Excellence. 4.4 The affairs of the University College are overseen by the Council with sub-Committees covering Academic and Student Affairs, Audit, Estates, Finance, Honorary Awards, Human Resources, Nominations, Remuneration and Strategy. 4.5 Senate oversees academic matters and has a number of sub-Committees reporting to it, including the Faculty Boards. In addition the Planning Board acts in a strategic advisory capacity primarily on resource issues. The Business and Community Steering Group reports to the Planning Board. 5. Relationship with Other Corporate Strategies 5.1 The University College considers it essential that the Business Engagement Strategy is developed in concert with the overall Strategic Plan and within the context of other institutional strategies. In determining its Business Engagement Strategy the University College has taken explicit account of the implied structural changes that will arise from its future plans for the development and growth of its academic portfolio. 5.2 The Strategy for Teaching, Learning and Assessment 2002–2005 is based on three central aims: To maintain and enhance the quality of learning. To provide access to higher education for all who can benefit from it. To provide programmes which meet the needs of students and employers. 5.3 The strategies for scholarship and professional development; and research for 2002–2007 aim to promote and stimulate a culture of active engagement that advances knowledge, informs the curriculum and teaching and provides a valuable contribution to industry, commerce and the public sector. This Business Engagement Strategy has been developed to support these strategies, takes into account the needs of local and regional businesses when applying for research funding. This will imply a greater emphasis upon research that has commercial application (as opposed to pure intellectual exploration). 5.4 The Finance Strategy focuses on efficient financial management and the Business Engagement Strategy will support this by seeking to identify additional income streams from public organisations like SEEDA, DTi and the European Union. BCUC’s strategy will actively seek research funding that supports engagement with employers and aims to ensure that business engagement activity becomes part of the University College’s core funding. The strategy seeks to maximise income from the provision of intellectual property, consultancy, research and bespoke education and training for employers. Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 9 of 12
  10. 10. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 6. Current Strengths and Emerging Issues 6.1 The University College is a well-managed higher education institution that has met all of its principal strategic targets since incorporation in 1989. In addition, it has, in each year, fully met its contractual position with the HEFCE and achieved a regular year-end surplus in its accounts. 6.2 The University College has a strong regional position, both in terms of meeting regional educational and cultural needs and in active membership of a range of regional networks. The University College has also established and managed a successful partnership with four regional Further Education (FE) colleges and has developed bilateral strategies for a joint approach to widening participation and staff development. BCUC, through the Faculty of Health Studies, also continues to develop and consolidate its long-term contractual relationships with the West London NHS Workforce Development Confederation. 6.3 The University College recognises the need to develop closer links with business and community organisations and to promote arrangements for them to access its resources, products and services. The Business Exchange was created using HEROBaC funding in 2000 as a centre of expertise to develop these linkages. Since then the Business Exchange has attracted funding in excess of £2m to support or implement a range of business related activities. This work will now be integrated into the Regional Development and Research Units. 6.4 HEROBaC funding has been used to fund: Accredited Centre status for the Business Exchange to deliver the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) programmes and to enable the University College to offer a wider portfolio of work-related and work-based courses across all faculties. A Knowledge Transfer Partnership Office – a central University College office to encourage knowledge and technology transfer with local Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SME’)s in collaboration with the DTi’s Small Business Service (SBS). Chiltern WoodWorks Enterprise Gateway, a business incubator and start-up facility for designers and craftsmen, predominately in the furniture industry. This was achieved with initial funding from SEEDA in collaboration with the Faculty of Design, Business Link and Wycombe District Council (WDC) and the University College. Wycombe Enterprise Hub – a high technology, high growth facility in the field of design, to encourage business start-ups and growth. Part-funded by SEEDA in collaboration with Buckinghamshire Economic Partnership (BEP) and Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC), WDC and the University College 6.5 In addition to this a number of other sources of external funding have been accessed to support initiatives across the University College including. Active Community Fund – an HEFCE and Home Office funded project to encourage volunteering by staff and students within the local community. Graduate Apprenticeships – an HEFCE funded project to develop three Graduate Apprenticeship Programmes in collaboration with their respective Sector Skills Councils in the Faculties of Leisure & Tourism and Technology. Rapid Product Development Group – a SEEDA funded, joint initiative to promote Rapid Product Development within the South East Region in partnership with the University of Portsmouth, an SME in Newbury and the Centre for Rapid Design and Manufacture (CRDM) in the Faculty of Technology. Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 10 of 12
  11. 11. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 7. The Development of the Business Engagement Strategy 7.1 The Business Engagement Strategy Steering Group was set up to oversee the development of the emerging Business Engagement Strategy. Chaired by the Assistant Director (Regional Development) membership of the group comprised the six Deans of Faculties, or their nominees, the Head of Widening Participation, Head of Careers, Head of CRDM, Business Development Manager and the President of the Students’ Union. 7.2 The Strategy developed following a review of the work of the Business Exchange over the previous three years and an examination of the extent and depth of the University College’s penetration into local businesses and community organisations. The Higher Education Innovation Funding Round Two (HEIF 2) publication in December 2003 outlined the way in which funding for business engagement would become incorporated into a third stream of core funding over 2004–2006. In order to bring these two together a core team consisting of the Assistant Director (Regional Development), Deans of the Faculties of Design and Technology, Head of Widening Participation and the Business Development Manager drafted the Business Engagement Strategy and the University College’s proposal under HEIF 2 and reported back to the HEIF 2 Steering Group and the Business and Community Working Party at regular intervals. 8. Monitoring, Evaluation and Review 8.1 A baseline level of all activities by the University College with employers and community organisations will be compiled and will include the provision of bespoke education, training and consultancy. Future activities will then be measured and monitored against the targets set out in the University College’s Annual Business Plan and Strategic Plan by the newly formed Business and Community Working Party of the University College’s Planning Board. 8.2 At the end of each year each faculty and central department will compile a report outlining their activities, income and expenditure levels, and evaluating progress in terms of engaging with employers. Future action plans will be developed to build upon strengths and to combat identified weaknesses and these will be reviewed at the end of the following year to gauge their effectiveness. 8.3 The University College will formally review its Business Engagement Strategy and its success every three years as part of a review of institutional effectiveness. Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 11 of 12
  12. 12. Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College S2 9. Glossary of Terms BCC Buckinghamshire County Council BCUC Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College BEP Buckinghamshire Economic Partnership BLLP Buckinghamshire Lifelong Learning Partnership CRDM Centre for Rapid Design and Manufacture DTi Department of Trade and Industry FE Further Education GOSE Government Office for the South East HEFCE Higher Education Funding Council for England HEIF Higher Education Innovation Funding HEROBaC Higher Education Reach Out to Business and the Community ILM Institute of Leadership & Management IPR Intellectual Property Rights KTP Knowledge Transfer Partnership LLSC Local Learning and Skills Council SBS Small Business Service SEEDA South East England Regional Development Agency SME Small to Medium-sized Enterprises USP Unique Selling Point WDC Wycombe District Council nd prepared by: Assistant Director - Regional Development, 2 Feb 2004. presented to: Planning Board (7 June 2004) review date: file location K:Mdocs5 Strategy documentsS2 - June 2004S2 - text.doc Business Engagement Strategy (June 2004) Page 12 of 12