Higher education engagement forum - meeting report



Wednesday 4 November saw CIMSPA welcome representatives from universities across the UK to its home base at Loughborough University for the first CIMSPA higher education engagement forum meeting. 23 universities were represented on the day, with another 11 institutions also keen to work more closely with the sector's chartered institute.

To kick-off the day, CEO Tara Dillon led the forum through CIMSPA's "journey of transformation" over the last 2 years, before development director Spencer Moore shared a more detailed plan as to the important role higher education institutions will play in turning our partnership plans into reality.

After a networking lunch, the core content for the afternoon session was a series of quick-fire half-hour presentations and spin-off discussions, led by CIMSPA staff and a guest speaker, covering employability, endorsement, improving workforce skills and maximising partnerships.

On employability, the CIMSPA student affiliate package was introduced as a key bridge between education and the working world, whilst potential changes to CIMSPA's degree endorsement practices were discussed, with the consensus being that further review was needed in this area.

Workforce skills are, of course, at the centre of CIMSPA's work with employers, and there will be an avenue to higher eduction to get fully involved here via the CIMSPA skills development partnership scheme. Finally, our guest speaker Judith Taylor focused in on how awarding organisations are keen to work with universities to ensure the sector's vocational qualifications can provide a progression pathway into higher education.

Feedback on the day from the education professionals present confirmed that CIMSPA was taking the right path with its higher education engagement. Stuart Wilson, from the University of Bedfordshire, commented that "it was a really good session, well thought out and put together and it generated interesting discussion", while Ian Roberts, from the University of St Mark and St John, described it as "an exciting day with great prospects".

Another forum is being planned for February 2016 to keep the momentum going and to capitalise on the ideas and input provided on the day. Having outlined its position and plans to the universities present, CIMSPA is keen to make future meetings more interactive, and to further develop this engagement forum as a strong two-way bridge between higher education and the sector's chartered institute.

Contact rebecca.ward@cimspa.co.uk for more information.

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