Capability Statement Education 2011


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Upper Quartile\'s work in the education sector: Higher education and economic development

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Capability Statement Education 2011

  1. 1. HIGHER EDUCATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CAPABILITY STATEMENT 2011 7-9 North St David Street Edinburgh United Kingdom EH2 1AW Tel: +44(0)131 524 9640 Web:
  2. 2. Higher Education & Economic Development Knowledge & Innovation Investment into research capability is increasing globally as a key driver for economic and business growth. Developing expert knowledge and highly skilled people drives innovation and competitive advantage in the wider economy. Whether focused on developing new research themes or new curricula, industry-education partnerships are increasingly relevant, symbiotic and rewarding. Recent research evidence indicates that university research generates a significantly higher return on investment in publicly funded research grants than in other areas of government-supported R&D. Upper Quartile is working with several leading universities in developing strategic partnerships and unlocking the commercial potential of the knowledge base. Higher Education Sector The higher and further education sector is increasingly recognised in its own right as an essential component of any economic development strategy. It is one route to knowledge transfer between the developed and developing worlds, where the educational resources of the older established universities in the West can assist in increasing the human potential of developing countries. But this is increasingly done on a true partnership basis, with exchange of faculty and students, and the developing world offering specialist research opportunities to the relationship. Upper Quartile is working with Universities and Colleges in India, the US and the UK to help them develop productive international relationships, as well as focus their own internal strategies. Skills & Vocational Delivering skills development and vocational training that is valued by both Training the trainees and the business community is recognised as the key to support private sector growth, while also developing sustainable employment opportunities. Businesses now have wide choices, as the university and college sectors offer tailored vocational training packages, to supplement multiple private sector providers. Training provision is also global, with flexible and on-line learning now the norm, regardless of the location of the accreditation body. For organisations investing in training, decisions need to be made on the design and cost, the most appropriate delivery mechanisms, likely benefits and appropriate funding structures. Upper Quartile is working with private sector, government and international development clients on devising the most cost effective way of ensuring that investment in training delivers sustainable and measurable value. Capability Statement 2011
  3. 3. Case Studies Knowledge & InnovationCo-operation between education and industry Renewable Energy in the Highlands Heriot-Watt University – Know- & Islands, UK How2 We recently undertook economic appraisals of projects in the Upper Quartile was appointed to undertake a needs analysis of renewable energy sector for the new University of the future skills and competencies required by the Scottish textile Highlands in Scotland. These covered establishing the industry, with particular reference to the School of Textiles & economic benefits of two projects – the Centre for Energy Design. Upper Quartile devised and undertook a focused and the Environment (CfEE) teaching and research building industry survey. Drawing on this and wider expertise, a at the UHI’s Thurso campus; and the Marine and Renewable summary and recommendations were delivered. Findings were Energy and the Environment project (MaREE), which aims presented at an EU level meeting as part of a ‘Transfer of to establish a test-bed for industrial projects in sub-sea tidal Innovation’ EU funded project. stream renewable energy. The feasibility and potential benefits of these investments were assessed for the UHI and Creative & Design Industries its co-funder, Highlands & Islands Enterprise. The projects Workshops have since been implemented to establish world leading centres in their fields. Upper Quartile devised and delivered a series of workshops for Highlands & Islands Enterprise aimed at design, fashion and Scottish Academy of Fashion creative businesses, addressing areas of knowledge gaps and market failure. A team of industry experts delivered sessions Upper Quartile has been engaged as consultant on an covering product design, industry trends, marketing and PR, ambitious project to establish a global ‘centre of excellence’ sourcing and ethics/fair trade. Following strong feedback from in applied research and knowledge transfer activities. This businesses which attended a series of workshops in 2009, involves six of Scotland’s leading universities, industry and Upper Quartile delivered further events on behalf of HIE in international partners, and is driving the creation of a new 2010. model of engagement between universities and industry. Critical successes to date include securing development Strategic Action Plan for University- funding from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Industry Engagement Council, the support of key industrial partners including UK Fashion Textiles, and the delivery of network-building Upper Quartile was engaged to develop a strategic action plan activities. Upper Quartile have facilitated several industrial for the School of Textiles & Design at Heriot-Watt University, collaborations now underway with lead academic partners Edinburgh in 2010. The plan is focused on identifying activities Heriot Watt University and Edinburgh School of Art. based on research and teaching strengths, that will drive new engagement with industry. Upper Quartile is developing appropriate output targets within a fully-costed Action Plan, based on financial, economic impact and educational measures. Workshops were undertaken with staff to ensure their proactive involvement and ownership of the project, and extensive consultations held with key staff and stakeholders. Capability Statement 2011
  4. 4. Case Studies Higher Education SectorGovernance and competitiveness in higher education University Funding Higher Education Governance Strategy Personnel within the Upper Quartile team have served in The University of the Highlands & Islands’ college on the Isle various governance and advisory capacities in the higher of Skye, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, teaches a wide range of subjects education sector in the UK. These include the Scottish Higher from business and administration to culture and history Education Funding Council’s research grants Committee, through the medium of the minority Gaelic language. Upper allocating £ millions for research to Scottish Universities; Quartile prepared a Funding Strategy aimed at attracting working on the project teams for establishing a new university; new and diverse sources of finance to the University in times advising on the creation of new higher education courses; and of declining support from central government. As well as acting as external examiners and research mentors. identifying key areas, the plan focussed on concrete steps necessary to implement the plan and achieve outputs. 2011 UHI: Stakeholder Engagement & Development for CRRS Indian Colleges linking with UK Stakeholder Management & Higher Education Development Upper Quartile is working with various universities, higher Upper Quartile was retained by the Centre for Rural and education colleges and foundations in north and south India Remote Studies, part of Inverness College UHI, to assess to set up strategic partnerships with UK universities. This opportunities to develop and harness opportunities to develop will result in the exchange of students and faculty staff, and new stakeholder engagement and potential revenue streams, the joint delivery of courses and research projects. The work and increase the profile of the Centre through targeted and involves devising programmes and business models, and effective stakeholder management and development. The implementing them with college and university boards in research focused on the key stakeholders and bodies engaged India and the UK. in rural Scotland, particularly at the political and policy level, and delivered a series of recommendations as to how effective Competitive Analysis of Course stakeholder development could be developed and managed Provision going forward. Upper Quartile undertook a competitive analysis of design related postgraduate taught course provision at Edinburgh College of Art. This was aimed at informing the college’s proposed development of market-driven courses. While primarily focused on UK experience, the report also identified leading examples of international provision and best practice. Capability Statement 2011
  5. 5. Case Studies Skills & Vocational TrainingImproving skills for economic development Tanzania Public Service Textiles Skills & Training Management Programme The Public Service Management department of the Tanzanian Upper Quartile project-managed a European Social Fund (ESF) President’s Office is introducing a Senior Executive Service funded project, designing and implementing training initiatives (SES) into the Tanzanian public service structure. Upper delivering tangible benefit to the Harris Tweed textiles sector. Quartile and its partners in Tanzania were commissioned in With the local authority (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar) and 2010 to design a SES and make recommendations on how Highlands & Islands Enterprise as lead clients, Upper it could be introduced. The project has involved examining Quartile worked with key training providers to develop and good practice in other countries, and discussions with public deliver a suite of skills development and training initiatives to service leaders throughout the country. It has identified the build skills and capacity in the tweed industry. By fostering a appropriate structure, membership, training and development partnership approach with relevant agencies, Upper Quartile needs, recruitment methods and performance management secured further investment into the project, increasing the systems for the SES. The work has also developed strategies project fund by 25%, and ensuring that skills and training for ensuring acceptance of the SES by the political and civil solutions are co-ordinated with other initiatives to assist the service establishment. longer term implementation and embedding of new skills. Education in Afghanistan Maldives skills certification and ICT training Upper Quartile was commissioned by DFID in June 2010 to review the training and vocational education system in The Upper Quartile team has worked with the Government of Afghanistan and make recommendations on the most the Maldives in Malé on establishing the costs and benefits of appropriate form of support. The country’s vocational training information and communications technologies (ICT) training system is currently inadequate to support economic growth. programmes. The framework of certification required to Its weakness also contributes to a growing pool of implement this, including the setting of benchmark skills and unemployed and disaffected young men who are then more Competencies were also examined. easily tempted into crime and violence, creating wider social and economic problems. DFID has recognised the urgent need to tackle the issue and Upper Quartile helped define what the priorities for intervention should be. We particularly recommended an emphasis on short-term training for the unemployed and under-employed, with parallel investment in the broader vocational training system and infrastructure, to build longer term capacity. The project played an important role in shaping the UK Government’s position at the Kabul Conference of July 2010. Capability Statement 2011