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Foundation Degrees: Firming up the HE – Business Coalition

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Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett yesterday announced the successful employers, universities and colleges that will be working together to develop the first foundation degree courses, the new vocational qualification for higher education.

Mr Blunkett said:

“The foundation degree will be a new qualification for a new century. By linking higher education to the world of work we have responded to employers’ demands for highly qualified people who know their subject and can apply it in the workplace.

“Foundation degrees will ensure that everyone, whether they take the academic or vocational route into higher education, will have the skills and knowledge necessary to give them the competitive edge in the new global economy. People taking foundation degrees, whether full or part-time, will find that they are studying for a first – rate qualification.

“The courses being offered cover the entire range of business needs, from engineering to digital broadcasting. In keeping with the innovative nature of foundation degrees, I am pleased to see that many of these programmes are geared to the needs of the knowledge economy.

“As I announced at the Association of Colleges Conference, further education colleges will play a vital role in helping young people to progress to higher education. Foundation degrees will enable colleges with proven standards to work with universities to deliver the high quality, vocational programmes that will spearhead the expansion of higher education. Many of these courses will be part-time and available through the workplace.”

Adding his support to the new foundation degree, Clive Jones, Chief Executive of Carlton TV, said:

“We see the foundation degree as an exciting way for Carlton and the broadcasting industry generally to deepen our relationship with established centers of excellence in broadcasting, such as Ravensbourne College in Bromley.”

Kam Kothia, Managing Director of E-Marketing Services Ltd, a company based in the North West also welcomed the foundation degree. He said:

“This is an excellent idea. It is essential that universities and further education institutions talk to businesses to find out their aims, understand their problems, and come up with solutions to meet their needs. Our company produces e-commerce solutions for all businesses, from small and medium size enterprises to large companies, but we find it difficult to recruit the right level of skill-mix.

“I welcome the foundation degree as it will enable our staff to carry on with their jobs and get a relevant higher education qualification at the same time. Delivered through Blackburn College the foundation degree will help to nurture a pool of highly qualified staff to support the future growth of this sector in the North West.”

David Allan, Group Human Resource Director for Huntsman Tioxide and Petrochemicals said:

“We are very supportive of this new initiative. It is a very good example of excellent collaboration between the chemical industry and the academic world. Jobs in our industry are becoming more and more technically demanding. This course will be a very useful vehicle for up-skilling our existing people and helping them to gain a much deeper academic and theoretical background to add to their practical experience.”

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