At Pearson we are redefining our role in education, working with partners that share our vision to help drive access, attainment and a focus on employability and lifelong learning in Higher Education.

It seems an understatement to say we are living through increased uncertainty, unpredictability and change. Brexit and Trump may be the poster children of this movement, but I suspect we can all cite our own examples – in the sector where I work, UK Higher Education, a learned colleague commented, wryly, that we’ve seen more change in the last six years than we have in the last six centuries.

These changes are just the visible signs of wider structural shifts underway. Take the world of work – by one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today (I have two myself) will ultimately end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist.

This, in turn, means the skills employers value are changing – if we look at the recent Pearson-CBI survey, clearly employers don’t just value what you know, but what you can do with that knowledge. Clearly more and more people will want to, or need to, gain new skills as they move through their working lives.

Spurred on by regulatory moves such as the Teaching Excellence Framework and the new Apprenticeship Levy, unsurprisingly universities are looking at their role: how to compete in a world of expanding choice; how to help more students around the world to access the world-leading education that our country offers; how to help their students build the skills that employers need and to develop their own entrepreneurial spirit.

Here are a few examples of how Pearson are redefining our role in education:

  • Partnering with leading UK universities to take degree programmes online. Last year, our CEO John Fallon wrote for NCUB about our partnership with King’s College London, where we’re working to deliver fully online post-graduate courses. This combines King’s world-class expertise in teaching and learning with Pearson’s experience of delivering over 200,000 online course starts across the world – a winning combination we are now replicating with other UK universities.
  • Working with employers (from Balfour Beatty to Tottenham Hotspur), trade bodies and universities, we are redesigning our higher education qualifications, the BTEC Higher Nationals, to ensure these offer learners a pathway to a full undergraduate degree, if that’s the route they chose, or directly into employment (our qualifications focus on the skills and capabilities needed to succeed in either).
  • Harnessing peer-to-peer learning and group work, often supported by real-world simulations, allowing students to share and build their knowledge together, enriching their experience and preparing them for the working world. We see this in the work of our own products and services, like the mini-simulations in MyMarketingLab.

These are a few examples of the productive partnerships so important to Pearson. We are the world’s largest education company, but just one part of the wider education ecosystem, and we’re clear working together we ensure more people make measurable progress in their lives through learning.

By Andy Moss, Senior Vice President, Higher Education, Pearson Plc