NCUB’s second Showcasing Collaboration booklet, Building Future Talent, Together, showcases how universities and businesses across the UK are working together to ensure that people are well equipped for the post-Covid economy and the future world of work.

The ten case studies in the booklet outline the depth and the breadth of these collaborations. However, these only just scratch the surface of the amazing collaborative work that NCUB members have been involved in. We hear of several projects that are looking to the future world of work and the changing skill needs of the economy.

Several case studies are focused on industries that are fast-growing or changing, meaning that training requirements have evolved.

To meet the growing demand for data science and engineering research skills, Queen Mary University of London has developed, with a range of high-profile businesses, a new doctoral training programme in Data-Centric Engineering. Similarly, the bioeconomy is fast-growing, especially in the North-East. Teesside University has worked with several key businesses in the sector, including Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, to develop their National Horizons Centre, which provides a state-of-the-art teaching, training and research facility.

Reflecting the UK’s ambition of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the University of Loughborough has worked with Rolls-Royce to develop the National Centre for Combustion and Aerothermal Technology (NCCAT). The NCCAT focuses on developing future low emission aerospace combustion system and training current and future aerospace engineers in this critical skill area.

In response to the growing need for digital skills in all areas of healthcare, Newcastle University has worked in collaboration with Health Education England to develop a Health Informatics Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

For all sectors, the need for strong digital skills has been highlighted in the pandemic. IBM has partnered with The Open University to curate SkillsBuild Reignite, a set of free online courses and learning opportunities. Meanwhile, PWC and Accenture have partnered with Ulster University and the University of Business respectively to develop new innovative masters courses in technology and data science.

Another skill area that is frequently said to be central in the future world of work are so-called ‘soft’ or ‘employability’ skills. Glasgow University Software Service (GUSS) is a software development service delivered by their students. The GUSS only work on small-scale projects for local SMEs and third sector organisations, aiming to enhance students’ skills while supporting the local economy.

The University of York works with local businesses on The Big Deal competition to develop entrepreneurial skills in Year 9 and 10 students from under-represented groups. The students are tasked to create a unique and innovative business plan for a product, business or social enterprise.

The University of Chester have worked with their Local Enterprise Partnership and Growth Hub to launch the training programme Accelerate. This programme enables businesses to upskill and reskill their workforce in a broad range of subjects, facilitating employees to adopt to new technologies and business processes.

These are just a few of the hundreds of examples of strong collaboration between universities and businesses across the country. With the changing nature of work and the need to prepare people with the skills they require for their future career, business/university collaboration will only increase with importance in the future.

For more information or if any NCUB members would like to receive hard copies of the booklet, please get in touch with NCUB’s Communications Manager Bethan Caunt at