Making the skills links for Environmental Technology

There has been a fair bit of media interest in the Environmental Technology sector over the past couple of weeks, particularly from the BBC and Radio WM. This was stimulated by our recent Review of Skills in Environmental Technologies (pdf, 476kb).

In the main, the interest has concentrated around how the sector has faired better than wider manufacturing through the recession, and the huge potential for future growth – for example in renewable energy and recycling.

This is good news for the West Midlands, as the industry has the potential to create jobs for Midlanders long in to the future.

But, to capitalise on the sector’s potential, our research (pdf, 476kb) shows that businesses need to be able to access the right people with the right skills; in some cases, very specific skills that are up to date with the latest technology.

We found that Environmental Technology companies are finding it difficult to find people with the right skills, and the report (pdf, 476kb) makes some recommendations on how to overcome the barriers.

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Survey on destinations of graduates from higher education

Graduates at Birmingham UniversityThe Destinations of leavers from higher education longitudinal survey (PDF, 2.02mb) is a new report published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

The survey aims to examine what graduates are doing three years after graduation. Questionnaires were completed by graduates who left university in 2004/05 on a range of subjects including their activities during November 2008.

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High levels of satisfaction amongst West Midlands student population

Students at Aston University with laptopThe 2009 National Student Survey found that 4 out of 5 of students across the UK are satisfied with the courses they are studying at university.

Over 223,363 students took part in the annual survey (a response rate of 62% for the UK), which was conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

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Universities, industry and innovation: brokering for successful knowledge transfer

Birmingham City University logoSpeaking at the Observatory’s innovation workshop on 19 March 2009, Prof. Lynn Martin from Birmingham City University discussed the role that universities can have as catalysts for innovation, but also how barriers continue to exist that weaken universities’ potential.

How well a university links with other types of organisations has been found to depend on its strengths, geographic location and relative business infrastructure – and on the social capital of both academics and local entrepreneurs.

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Investment in higher level skills and the knowledge economy

The government’s University Challenge initiative aims to support investment in higher education at a local level in order to:

1: Support the development of a ‘knowledge economy’ by unlocking the talents of local people and providing the skills and knowledge transfer that enables local businesses to grow and to attract new investment to the area.

2: Make a real difference to the cultural life of our towns and cities.

Our review (PDF, 538KB) of the ‘market’ for higher education in the West Midlands, conducted at the request of Advantage West Midlands and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, highlights a range of key issues and barriers that any new investment needs to help to address.

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