In last week’s newsletter I reported on regional labour market intelligence, calls for Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) reforms, the Council Assets Programme and student satisfaction success. This week the headlines are around vocational qualifications, NIACE’s Manifesto, measuring university-business cooperation, the provision of – and quality assurance in – Higher Education and Local Enterprise Partnership funding.

Vocational qualifications were celebrated nationwide, as part of VQ Day. The Institute of Public Policy Research marked the day with a new report, ‘Vocational Qualifications – a route to future success’, which investigates the changing landscape of the workforce, concluding that, by 2022, nine out of ten of the most in-demand occupations of the future will be attained by completing vocational qualifications. Vocational training will be the key to securing hundreds of thousands of jobs for young people in Devon and Cornwall and the South West, the study into the future of the UK labour market has revealed. The Institute for Learning marked VQ Day with a new accolade, the first VQ Newly Qualified Further Education Teacher of the Year award. In related news, Bath Spa University recently teamed up with Norton Radstock College to help rural businesses identify the skills they need from potential employees.

Matthew Hancock spoke this week at the annual Association of Education Learning Providers (AELP) conference about the importance of apprenticeship reforms, launching NIACE’s new online employer toolkit, which is designed to help more disabled people gain access to Apprenticeships.  NIACE have also recently published a Manifesto, detailing the crucial role that lifelong learning can play in a prosperous society and a vibrant economy, which will feature in discussions by leading political figures at NIACE’s Annual Adult Learners’ Week Policy Conference on Thursday 19 June in Westminster. NIACE has also responded to the Queen’s Speech, which, they said, “lacked enough new proposals for investment in skills training”. A report published this week by the Office for National Statistics, shows that 13.9% of those in work are home workers, the highest rate of home working since comparable records began in 1998.

Measuring the impact of university-business cooperation is a new study from the EU’s DG Education and Culture, which highlights numerous benefits of university-business cooperation in the field of education, directly, indirectly, quantitatively and qualitatively. The benefits of collaboration can be broadly described as falling into four categories, namely: Strengthening levels of human capital, with labour supply and employment implications; Stimulating entrepreneurship through teaching and learning; Knowledge exchange, aimed at promoting or stimulating product/process innovation or new pedagogy; and Raising the profile of an organisation. Last week, Dr Anthony Mann, Director of Policy and Research at the Education and Employers Taskforce, published a collection, co-edited with Julian Stanley (University of Warwick) and Prof Louise Archer (King’s College London), entitled Understanding Employer Engagement in Education: theories and evidence.

HEFCE recently responded to a University Alliance report entitled ‘How do we ensure quality in an expanding higher education system?‘  Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE’s Chief Executive, said: “The report is particularly timely, and touches closely on a number of matters high on the HEFCE agenda” adding “The Government has asked us to develop mechanisms to assure the quality of the student experience when student number controls are removed. We have also started work to examine how students might be better protected in the event of untoward disruption to their studies”.

The four UK HE funding bodies and Research Councils UK (RCUK) have written to the heads of all UK HE institutions inviting input into the science and innovation strategy, as non-Russell Group universities rise in theGuardian University League Table 2015, knocking former favourites out of top slots. The University of Exeter has enjoyed significant success in the latest league table, strengthening its position as one of the best universities in the country. One of Exeter’s latest ventures is looking to train the business leaders of tomorrow with a new £5.5 million purpose built business school, the first of its kind in Cornwall. Dr Garry Tregidga recently reflected on the impact of the European Union, suggesting that a ‘Cornish solution’ will ensure economic regeneration.

Turning to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), a new group, tasked with driving the growth of the Solent’s marine and maritime sector, is to be backed with £75,000 of Solent LEP funding. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP is inviting businesses to its stand at the Royal Cornwall Show to find out how it wants to invest £1 billion by 2020 in the local economy. Eleven firms have received grant funding worth £348,000 from the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP to spur their growth and boost employment. Businesses in the South West of England will benefit from a new funding boost for skills training, with £400,000 secured to help local firms ensure that their staff are equipped with the necessary training and encourage a greater take-up of apprenticeships in the area.

I hope you find this information useful.




National Headlines

Celebrating VQ Day
Vocational qualifications are being celebrated nationwide, as part of VQ Day.

VQ Day – vocational qualifications a route to future success
To mark VQ Day 2014, a new report from the Institute of Public Policy Research has investigated the changing landscape of the workforce.

IfL marks VQ Day with new teacher award
The first ever VQ Newly Qualified Further Education Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by the Institute for Learning (IfL), was presented to Katy Graham at the VQ Day awards ceremony hosted by the Edge Foundation in London on 3 June 2014.

Queen’s Speech underlines need for skills-led economic recovery
NIACE has responded to today’s Queen’s Speech, which lacked enough new proposals for investment in skills training.

Government is failing to tackle the growing casualisation of work
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady commented on proposals in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech.

Record Proportion of People in Employment are Homeworkers
There were 4.2 million home workers in January-March 2014, or 13.9% of those in work, according to a report published today by the Office for National Statistics. This was the highest rate of home working since comparable records began in 1998.

Nine out of ten jobs in the future will require vocational qualifications
A new report published by The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found that by 2022 – nine out of ten of the most in-demand occupations of the future will be attained by completing vocational qualifications.

IPPR – Practical education ‘needs more focus’
Too much attention has been paid to increasing the number of young people gaining a degree, a report claims.

Workshop on Business Opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe
Opportunities for UK automotive and aerospace exporters will be outlined at our workshop in Budapest in July 2014.

UK ‘Second Best Education in Europe’
The UK is in second place among European countries and sixth overall in a global education league table.

BIS Publishes Strengthened Intervention Process to Drive Up Standards in Further Education
Details of the process to tackle underperformance in further education have been published today (30 May 2014).

Leading Employers Prove Disabled Apprentices Boost Business
To help more disabled people gain access to Apprenticeships and to help employers gain access to skilled and dedicated workers, a new online toolkit has been launched today by NIACE.

Trade union membership increases in private sector
The number of private sector employees joining trade unions has increased for the third year in a row, according to latest figures.

How to get a job when you graduate
Recruiters share the ten key skills students really need when they graduate.

Google lifts the lid on workforce demographics
Google has released full details of its workforce demographics for the first time, with the tech giant admitting it is “not where we want to be” on diversity issues.

Rising union membership in private sector is good for workers wanting a decent pay rise
“Unions deliver better pay, longer holidays, more training, safer workplaces, family-friendly jobs and decent pensions. That is because workers are stronger when they join together.” – Frances O’Grady, TUC

RNIB publish evidence-based review on people of working age
RNIB have published an evidence-based review which looks in detail at the experiences of blind and partially sighted people of working age.

Army training scheme for long-term unemployed may be extended
Scheme piloted in Telford and Stoke can raise awareness of army reserve and make people more employable, says officer.

Majority of Gen Y ‘won’t stay with one employer more than five years’
Employers will have to try harder to retain Generation Y talent as a global survey revealed 90 per cent of this age group plan to stay no longer than five years with one organisation.

New course for FE staff working with young people with autism
A two day course for staff in further education working directly with young people with autism, is being piloted in London by Ambitious about Autism and NIACE, on 30 June – 1 July.

Parental careers advice to children often ‘out of date’
Parents play a key role in their children’s career decisions, but their views are often out of date and badly informed, suggests a report.

Colleges keen to support scheme to get young people into work – and keep them there
Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, responds to a Government announcement that unemployed 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to access help and support from Jobcentre Plus.

Help for 16 and 17 year olds to catch up, keep up and find work
Jobcentre Plus, in partnership with local authorities, to help 16 and 17 year olds to catch up, keep up and find work.

PM marks £1 billion investment boost for UK SMEs
Balfour Beatty has announced a record spend of £1 billion this year on contracts with SMEs across the country.

CBI survey – optimism high in service sector after year of growth
The service sector is continuing to feel the benefits of the economic upswing with growing optimism, business volumes rising briskly and firms taking on more staff. That’s according to the CBI’s latest quarterly Service Sector Survey.

Help to Work – nationwide drive to help the long-term unemployed into work
Help to Work will give Jobcentre staff a new range of options to support the hardest to help get off benefits and into work.

Leading figures respond to new NIACE Manifesto
A Manifesto, detailing the crucial role that lifelong learning can play in a prosperous society and a vibrant economy, will be discussed by leading political figures at NIACE’s Annual Adult Learners’ Week Policy Conference on Thursday 19 June in Westminster.

Despite their advantages apprenticeships are underused
To reduce high unemployment among their young people, countries are looking to others for help. In countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria youth unemployment has remained relatively low. This is attributed in part to their apprenticeships or ‘dual’ systems and so interest in them has increased.

Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), May 2014
The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 13.5%, down 0.8 percentage points from October to December 2013 and down 1.6 percentage points from a year earlier.

Government to take £40 from everyone who loses their job
From this Autumn anyone who loses their job will receive £40 less as a result of government plans to make people wait for longer for any job support, according to a consultation published today (Friday) by the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) – an official body that advises the Department of Work and Pensions on benefits issues.

KPMG staff go over the top for National Literacy Trust
One hundred and seventy KPMG staff have spent this week taking part in the Big Blue Abseil this week raising over £45,000 for their selected charities Action for Literacy and Shelter.

80,000 UK students to visit China to boost trade links
Vince Cable urges business leaders to support a drive to double the number of UK exchange students who travel to China.

Children call for more hands-on careers guidance in new AoC research
School children want drastic changes made to the way in which they receive careers advice, according to new research conducted by the Association of Colleges (AoC) in partnership with The Skills Show.

Mentoring scheme from 30% Club set to boost number of senior women
A mentoring scheme designed to boost the number of women on boards will launch in September after a series of successful pilot programmes run by the 30% Club.

Universities to contribute to new Science and Innovation Strategy for the UK
The four UK higher education funding bodies and Research Councils UK (RCUK) have written to the heads of all UK higher education institutions inviting input into the science and innovation strategy.

HEFCE response to University Alliance report ‘How do we ensure quality in an expanding higher education system?’
“The University Alliance report is a helpful addition to the debate around quality and regulation in a rapidly changing HE landscape. The report is particularly timely, and touches closely on a number of matters high on the HEFCE agenda.” – Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive


South West Headlines

Cornwall College Group set for Multi-Million Pound Investment
The Cornwall College Group is set to put forth a multi-million pound vision for the future of education and skills in the county.

Universities’ Key Role in Real Economy
There are some that still consider universities to be ivory towers that are largely out of touch with the world of business and industry. Yet, the reality is that higher education institutions are an active participant and contributor in driving forward local, regional and national economies around the World.

GFirst LEP and the University of Gloucestershire Growth Hub Business Venture Creates 18 New Jobs
The Growth Hub, a partnership between GFirst LEP and the University of Gloucestershire, has launched a recruitment drive for 18 professionals to join the team.

Number of NEETs falls in All Nine Regions
The government has announced that the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) is falling in all nine regions of the UK.

gFirst – Employability Hits Five-year High
The number of students finding work after graduating from the University of Gloucestershire has hit a five-year high, according to new figures from a national survey.

University of Exeter Business School opens its doors in Cornwall
The University of Exeter is reinforcing its commitment to boosting Cornwall’s economic prosperity by launching its Business School on the Penryn Campus.

Bristol enterprise zone funding boosted by £6 million
Bristol awarded funding as part of a £23 million national urban redevelopment and new business fund.

£23 million to build up enterprise zones will bring home more local jobs
Investment will bring more jobs to Bristol, Manchester, New Anglia and Leicestershire.

Cheltenham GE Aviation Systems ‘jobs uncertainty over’
It is hoped up to 200 jobs will stay in Gloucestershire after a £42m takeover of GE Aviation Systems was agreed.

18 new jobs created by The Growth Hub
The Growth Hub, the unique partnership between GFirst LEP and the University of Gloucestershire, has launched a recruitment drive for 18 professionals to join the team.

South West Stressed at Work
More than half of employees (51 per cent) in the South West say they know a colleague who has had to quit work due to stress.

£348k Growth Grants Awarded to Local Businesses
Thanks to funding secured by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, even more local businesses will benefit from grants to help them grow.

The growth of Bristol’s creative and digital sector
Bristol is often hailed as a creative and digital hub. Gavin Thompson reports on how well placed the sector is to deliver jobs and prosperity for the city.

UK Employment and Skills Research Papers

Measuring the impact of university-business cooperation
A study from the European Union’s DG Education and Culture. Highlights numerous benefits of university-business cooperation in the field of education, directly, indirectly, quantitatively and qualitatively. Described the benefits of collaboration under four categories: Strengthening levels of human capital; Stimulating entrepreneurship through teaching and learning; Knowledge exchange; and Raising the profile of an organisation.

The British low-wage sector and the employment prospects of the unemployed
Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), the labor market dynamics of men are analyzed up to six years after entering unemployment. An alternative econometric approach is presented that allows for correlated random effects between the three labor market states (high-paid employed, low-paid employed and unemployed). The results show that low wages help to significantly reduce the risk of future unemployment. Indications of a “springboard effect” of low wages are found, especially for men without post-secondary education. However, the calculated probability of obtaining a high-paying job is noticeably influenced by the monetary level of the low-wage threshold.

Closing the gap – unlocking opportunity through higher education
Asks how we overcome the disadvantages that make people from lower socio-economic groups less likely to progress on the career ladder than those from more advantaged backgrounds? Examines the economic and social imperatives for widening participation, tackling some of the myths that exist around social mobility and higher education and looking at where universities are really adding value and supporting students into successful careers.

Progression of apprentices to higher education – cohort update
An update of a 7 year review tracking advanced level apprentices into higher education. Part of a longitudinal study, which is an observational research method where data is gathered for the same subject repeatedly over a period of time. Looks at 6 groups of advanced level apprentices who had completed their courses, describing the complex nature of apprenticeship progression to higher education, in both colleges and universities.

Dismantling the barriers to social mobility
Ask if social mobility is going into reverse. What are the connections between social mobility and inequality? And what policies might help a recovery of social mobility? Argues that stalled social mobility is at the heart of the modern battle of ideas; that cuts in benefits and services are likely to lead to a growth in inequality dwarfing that of the 1980s. Points out that, if social mobility was growing, this might help to ameliorate high levels of inequality.

Just the job – or a working compromise? The changing nature of self-employment in the UK
Analysis of national datasets and a new survey of just under 1,000 self-employed people, which suggests that there is strong evidence of a significant structural element, but that there does also appear to be an important cyclical component contributing to recent self-employment growth.


Industry Skills Research Papers

Employer investment in apprenticeships in the health sector
Provides an in-depth assessment of apprenticeships in 3 broad frameworks delivered within the National Health Service (NHS): clinical support roles (for example, nursing support roles); business administration; and engineering.

Employer investment in Higher Apprenticeships in Accounting
Provides an assessment of employers’ participation in higher apprenticeships in accounting (Level 4), considering: employers’ reason for participating in this form of training; the merits of apprenticeship compared with other training leading to qualification at the same level; the structure of training; the various costs and benefits for the employer; and employers’ plans to continue with this form of training in the future.


Labour Market Statistics, May 2014

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  • Latest estimates for January to March 2014 show that employment continued to increase, unemployment continued to fall, as did the number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64. These changes continue the general direction of movement over the past two years.
  • There were 30.43 million people in work for January to March 2014, 283,000 more than for October to December 2013 and 722,000 more than a year earlier. These increases in employment are partly due to more self-employed people.
  • 72.7% of people aged from 16 to 64 were in work for January to March 2014, up from 72.1% for October to December 2013 and up from 71.4% for a year earlier.
  • There were 2.21 million unemployed people for January to March 2014, 133,000 fewer than for October to December 2013 and 309,000 fewer than a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 6.8% of the economically active population (those in work plus those seeking and available to work) for January to March 2014, down from 7.2% for October to December 2013 and down from 7.8% for a year earlier.
  • There were 8.85 million economically inactive people (those out of work but not seeking or available to work) aged from 16 to 64 for January to March 2014. This was 85,000 fewer than for October to December 2013 and 155,000 fewer than a year earlier.
  • 21.9% of people aged from 16 to 64 were economically inactive for January to March 2014, down from 22.1% for October to December 2013 and down from 22.4% for a year earlier. The inactivity rate has not been lower since October to December 1990.
  • Pay including bonuses for employees in Great Britain for January to March 2014 was 1.7% higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 1.3% higher.
  • Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication


Local Enterprise Partnership Priorities

Good career guidance
A report by Sir John Holman for Gatsby, in which, through international visits, analysis of good practice in English independent schools and a comprehensive review of current literature, the author developed eight benchmarks that identify different dimensions of good career guidance. Surveying a sample of English schools to see how they measure up against these benchmarks – and commissioning PwC to identify the costs of implementing the benchmarks in schools across England – the author then makes ten recommendations on how to improve the career guidance system.

Labor market institutions and long-term effects of youth unemployment
An analysis of panel data from OECD countries during the 1960-2010 periods reveals that a worker who experiences a one-percentage-point higher unemployment rate while the worker is 16-24 years old has a 0.14 percentage-point higher unemployment rate at ages 25-29 and 0.03 percentage points higher at ages 30-34. The persistence of this negative effect is stronger in countries with stricter employment protection legislation.

CCN report – LEP survey analysis
The findings from CCN’s recent survey of the Leaders of member councils into their experiences with LEPs, including analysis and recommendations.

Building economic resilience – an analysis of Local Enterprise Partnerships’ plans
Assesses the extent to which Local Enterprise Partnerships are addressing and planning for the long-term economic and social challenges that their areas face.

Making local economies matter – a review of policy lessons from the Regional Development Agencies and Local Enterprise Partnerships
Recommends a radical and accelerated devolution of powers to LEPs to deal with the widening economic divide. Reviews the policy lessons from the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Concludes that more jobs, growth and wealth generated locally are a vital part of a balanced economy. Argues for a fresh commitment to stronger support for England’s local economies and that active policies to promote economic development at local and regional level are essential. Shows that RDA achievements compare well against the LEPs that replaced them, and reveals that from 2000 to 2010 the poorer English regions were able to achieve almost the same rate of GVA growth as the prosperous regions but since 2010 early data show the gap in growth rates is five times greater.

International Skills Research Papers

Developing apprenticeships (CEDEFOP briefing note)
Briefing note from CEDEFOP, which finds that, despite their advantages as a way of aligning vocational education and training to labour market needs, apprenticeships are underused.


Skills and Growth Events

An event organised by Fair Play South West – the Women’s Equality Network
6 June, 2014, Innovation Centre, University of Exeter, 10:00 – 15:30

06/06/2014 – Fair Play South West is pleased to present the “Women’s Manifesto” which was launched at our 2013 AGM last June. It is based on what women and women’s organisations in the South West tell us are the key policy imperatives to ensure progress towards women’s equality – in the economy, in power, in safety and in health. There will be workshops and opportunities for input from delegates, both to support the content of the manifesto and for discussion on how to use it to achieve real change for women. Lunch provided.

Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen Careers Show 2014
17 June 2014, 10:00 – 20:00, Thistle Cheltenham Hotel, Gloucester Road, Cheltenham

17/06/2014 – A new careers fair will give job hunters unrivalled access to the county’s top employers. The Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen Careers Show 2014 will take place at The Thistle Cheltenham Hotel in June. The show, which is signing up a range of large and small employers across the county, is backed by the newspapers’ job section Jobs 24/7.

IfL Fellowship Research Programme
17th Oct 2014, Oxford

17/10/2014 – The IfL Fellowship Research Programme is designed to develop individuals’ research and publication skills.

Living and Working in Wiltshire Event 2014
3 July 2014, Tidworth Leisure Centre, Nadder Road, Tidworth, Wiltshire, SP9 7QN

03/07/2014 – The “Living and Working in Wiltshire and Swindon” event will bring local businesses and the military together in Tidworth on 3rd July 2014.

Unions and the path to war – Tolpuddle Radical History School
17 July to 19 July 2014, Tolpuddle Festival Site

17/07/2014 – Open to all, the history school is a great chance to learn more about radical and trade union history. Running ahead and alongside the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival it offers a chance to learn lessons from the past in beautiful, rural Dorset. There will be plenty of opportunitity for discussion. Visit the Tolpuddle Martyrs website for full programme information.

Welfare reform – creating effective local delivery partnerships
20 December 2014, Prospero House, Borough High Street, London SE1

20/12/2014 – This one day conference will provide an early opportunity to consider the updated Local Support Services Framework and will feature examples of best practice in the planning and delivery of services sharing learning from the Local Authority led pilots as well as drawing on the experience of housing associations, and third sector organisations in the delivery of budgeting support, debt advice, and financial inclusion inititatives, local welfare schemes, and digitial inclusion projects.

HEFCE Annual Meeting 2014
16 October 2014, 09:30-13:00, Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

16/10/2014 – The meeting offers an opportunity to learn more about current developments, HEFCE’s role and the challenges facing higher education. Booking for the event will open in August.

AoC Sustainability Portfolio Group – 1st annual conference
8 July 2014, Think Low Carbon Centre, Barnsley

08/07/2014 – The conference, entitled; Sustainability, Employment, Education and the Role of Colleges, will showcase best practice from around the regions of England on colleges’ success in engaging learners in the importance of Sustainable Skills for Employability. It will also highlight the successful career paths provided by sustainability and environmental skills. The venue for the event is the Think Low Carbon Centre, Barnsley College. We have chosen the venue to demonstrate the technology and techniques needed to make a low carbon building as well as highlighting how colleges can lead the way on sustainability. With our partners, Social enterprise organisation, 4 All of Us, we will also be creating a sustainable legacy fund via the conference. This fund will be open to Colleges and groups demonstrating sustainability within further education.

2013 results of the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)
How to Best Shape Teacher Policies? Policy lessons from international comparisons.
25-26 June 2014, Tokyo, Japan

25/06/2014 – With the theme “How to Best Shape Teacher Policies? Policy lessons from international comparisons and guidance for education and schools in the future”, this Seminar aims to provide an opportunity to exchange views on how to best shape teacher policy so as to have the strongest impact on the quality of the learning environment.

TUC Congress 2014
7-10 September 2014, BT Convention Centre, Kings Dock, Liverpool L3 4FP

07/09/2014 – Visitor application forms will be available from May.

IntoWork Convention 2014
8-9 July 2014, Arena Convention Centre, Liverpool

08/07/2014 – In 2014 it will be called the IntoWork Convention and will be for everyone involved in helping people find work, keep work and progress in work. The IntoWork Convention will be larger and more interactive showcasing ‘what works’ in employment, skills, health and for disadvantaged people.

Falling Off the Radar? The impacts of digital by default
23 June 2014, 10.00 – 15.30, Best Western Tiverton Hotel, Blundells Road, Tiverton

23/06/2014 – This conference aims to bring key stakeholders together, to discuss and promote synergies between agencies involved in the promotion of digital and social inclusion in Devon, with a focus on deprived urban areas and rural communities. Confirmed speakers include: Professor Jane Seale (University of Exeter), Nora Corkery (Devon Welfare Rights Unit) and Julie Hawker (Cosmic and LEP). Rob Garrett: rgarrett@tuc.org.uk or telephone 07899 966 358.

Next steps for the Research Excellence Framework
23 April 2015, central London

23/04/2015 – David Sweeney, Director, HEFCE will be speaking at this seminar, which is scheduled to follow publication of this year’s Research Excellence Framework (REF), the system by which the quality of research from UK HEIs is assessed – with significant implications for public funding for universities’ research, for benchmarking, and for academic reputation.

Improving financial stability and efficiency in Higher Education – sustainability, alternative revenue streams and lean ways of working
19 November 2014, central London

19/11/2014 – Steve Egan, Deputy Chief Executive, HEFCE, will be speaking at this event, which will bring out latest thinking on making the Higher Education sector more efficient, and to increase financial stability at a time of considerable changes to university funding – focusing on options and implementation.