Strategic Insight Programme (SIP)
The Partnership for Innovation in Education project is an innovative and collaborative initiative funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and led by the University of South Wales (USW) that aims to encourage innovation and facilitates interaction between industry partners with Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) institutions.
The project has allowed for HE and FE educational partners across South East Wales to establish strategically beneficial relationships with each other and related industry partners. These benefits have been facilitated through short-term placement and workshop opportunities with industry partners with the purpose of developing cross sector relationships and encouraging the development of collaborative projects in a supporting environment.
The project focussed on three areas of regional strength, which linked to both the Welsh Government and Regional Skills Partnership identified priorities for current workforce upskilling, research and innovation needs to support inward investment. Each of these areas were led by a different university in the SE Wales region:
1. Creative Industries
3. Compound Semiconductor
The project has supported the delivery of Wales’ Well-being of Future Generations Act, contributing to regional prosperity and maximising existing opportunities through a joined-up offer for Welsh Government and Cardiff Capital Regional Skills Board to promote to potential inward investors. It has developed a vibrant culture of innovation and collaboration with HE/FE communities of practice that benefit local people. It has facilitated more resilient HE/FE relationships across the region, embedding welsh values, language and culture in sector developments.
The benefits to the many industry partners is that they now have a clearly identified route into HE/FE expertise and have been invited to engage further in informing and shaping the development of skills, research and innovation requirements. In HE/FE, these workshops and placements have led to curriculum development, student placements into industry, new formal partnership agreements, shared consultancy and further research and development. Wider access to facilities, expertise and capacity building has been enabled, and there is a stronger hinterland for more integrated HE/FE understanding of the potential for future research, innovation and consultancy in the region.
The impact of the initiative continues through the three HE/FE sector networks which are committed to continue post-funding, with a focus on innovative collaboration and showcasing of expertise and facilities through regular workshops and sector input between academia and industry.
All strands formed cluster groups with the aim to identify challenges relating to curriculum, innovation and research and development and to ensure that academia and industry are better connected and both needs and requirements are considered and met.
A popular theme throughout the project has been the encouragement and relationship building of the STEM/STEAM agendas in education and industry. This has been acknowledged through workshops and placements that focused on utilising industry STEM ambassadors to help with HE/FE recruitment and engagement.
A summative event was held on the 11th March to celebrate the success of the Partnership for Innovation in Education project where SIP played a crucial and positive role to the impact of future engagement, innovation and collaboration across the region between HE and FE institutions and a wide variety of industry partners.
Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing a selection of SIP case studies.