Skills & Talent Projects

Skills & Talent Projects

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Ensuring young people have the skills for the future is one of the principal pillars of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which requires a flow of high-quality graduates to power the economy. And, crucially, it points to the need to open pathways for all students.

Ambitions for the economy – 2.4% spending on R&D, to be an advanced knowledge economy, to compete on a global scale – and ambitions for society – better social mobility, a more diverse and balanced workforce, improved outcomes for all – intersect effortlessly in skills policy. How do we build a higher education system which delivers the skills needed both now and in the future, while offering opportunity to all?

Our Skills & Talent projects aim to answer this question by streamlining the development of the talent from higher education into the workplace and the economy. Ensuring that there are more routes to higher education for more people. That the skills learned at university are the skills needed at work. That businesses pick up the mantle of education past graduation, and continue to train and develop their people.

Fundamentally, universities and business need to work together to produce resilient people able to cope with change and evolution. We have spent over a decade talking about work-ready graduates, now we need future-ready graduates.


Future of Skills

The world of work and ways we work are changing – there is need to take a profound look at how we educate, train, and develop future generations as they enter and progress through employment. As such NCUB is currently undertaking the first of many projects centred on this, with initial work focussing on a review of the current future of skills recommendations put out by government, universities, business, and sector bodies in the UK.

Workshops with members will follow in coming months, exploring how we can better align universities and business in meeting the skills needs of the future.

Innovation Skills

The Government is committed to increasing investment in R&D to position the UK as the world’s most innovative economy. But the pledge to increase total R&D investment in the UK to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 is simply a measure of input. Spending this investment, and spending it well – on high quality, world-leading innovation, will require a broad and highly skilled workforce across science and research. From technicians and scientists to entrepreneurs and researchers to leaders and experts. All roles in a strong ‘2.4% economy’ will require an embedded capability for innovation, and teaching this skill will be paramount. We are committed to working with partners from across academia and industry to build a highly-skilled, innovative workforce for a 2.4% world.

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships require close collaboration between universities and business to co-create new talent solutions that meet the needs of both learners and employers. We have been speaking to member universities and businesses that are currently engaging with degree apprenticeships to better understand the challenges and benefits as well as the wider implications for employers’ talent acquisition and development programmes, and the consequences, intended or otherwise, for universities and their graduates.



Student Wellbeing

While the value of people as a resource is long-established, there is growing awareness in the role of wellbeing, and what it means for productivity and innovation in the UK. Both industry and the higher education sector share an interest in the wellbeing of our students – crucial to enabling them not just to do well in higher education, but also to take on work with success as graduates.

We have gathered the latest research and opinion around the topic of student wellbeing and you can read the article summarising the perspectives shared at our 2018 roundtable series.

Social Mobility

Universities and businesses share an interest and responsibility to build resilience and support new graduates to thrive in the workplace. To address this need, NCUB has held a series of autumn roundtables on the topic of student wellbeing, focused on supporting the transition from education to employment.

Talent 2030

Talent 2030 is an ambitious campaign powered by the National Centre for Universities and Business to encourage more girls to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering. The programme includes the Talent 2030 Annual Dashboard.

Talent 2050

NCUB commissioned 'Talent 2050: Engineering skills and education for the future' – a UK-wide study looking to inform thinking on the needs of our engineering and digital education and skills systems into the middle of the century.

Work Experience & Placements

To keep up with and thrive within the demands of a globalised economy where successful business can emerge and grow, the UK needs to help young people develop the necessary skills for the jobs of the future. Quality placements, internships and work experience programmes benefit business and students alike.


For more information about our Skills & Talent projects, please contact

To learn more about the benefits of being part of the NCUB network, browse our Membership pages or contact our Membership Team.

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