Welcome to the NCUB’s new site, and to my new weekly blog. This version of the site will celebrate our philosophy of the NCUB as a networked centre, a hub for discussion and a showcase of the best examples of strong working relationships between universities and businesses.

The only skin we have in the game is to increase the quantity, quality, intensity of collaboration between businesses and universities to grow prosperity and wellbeing in the UK. That’s it. That’s our special sauce.

We all need to work together to find, promote and develop talent to be successful in the 21st century.

I am fortunate to spend most of my life travelling around the country, talking to business and university leaders. That fills me with optimism: I seldom meet narrow-minded people on either side of the partnership.

Academics want to figure out the best way to create value through inventiveness, and are committed to the success of their students. Corporate managers don’t buy into simplistic and reductive views of “oven-ready graduates”. We all need to work together to find, promote and develop talent to be successful in the 21st century.

In Tiger House, our team seldom uses the ‘s’ word: although skills are absolutely a necessary condition of a successful career, they aren’t remotely sufficient. UK businesses need universities to deliver a new holistic education that focuses on the whole person, not on a narrow set of learned responses.

This is not a new idea. I recently delivered a speech about this question which sent me back to Newman’s Idea of a University. According to the great man, a graduate should know how to:

– Get to the point.
– Detect sophism.
– Disentangle a skein of thought.
– Master different subjects.
– Accommodate themselves to others.
– Have common ground with every class.
– Know when to speak, and – as importantly – when to be quiet.
– Ask questions pertinently and gain a lesson seasonably.
– A pleasant companion; someone you can rely on.

Suitably updated, this list of attributes is precisely the kinds of employees modern businesses require – particularly those in the knowledge-based and innovation-intensive economies. I look forward to engaging with our network on how best we might deliver this new university education.