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Harper Adams employer engagement expertise informs new book

Posted 17 September 2011

The three authors are all members of the REEDNet team at Harper Adams and have long and wide involvement in working with employers to satisfy their training needs."

Harper Adams University College’s expertise in the field of employer engagement is shared in a new book, published last night at the University of Derby Enterprise Centre.

The book, “Making employer and university partnerships work – accredited employer-led learning”, was prepared on the initiative of EBTA (Employment Based Training and Assessment), an association of universities involved in this area of work, of which Harper Adams is a member. It is published by Libri, a highly-regarded publishing house in this field.

“Exemplifying excellent and innovative practice from across a range of HE-employer partnerships, this book is a portrait of higher education institutions that have opted to engage with industry and, by reply, it captures how industry has joined and led the party,” said Lydia Arnold, Work Based Learning Developer for the Rural Employer Engagement Development Network (REEDNet) at Harper Adams.

“It shows what can be done and what has been done. It outlines how partnerships can be built and how HEIs can develop into agile and listening partners for industry.”

Lydia, alongside colleagues Charles Cowap and Liz Warr, co-authored Chapter 17 of the book, ‘Courtship underpinned by audit: challenges and solutions in quality assuring employer responsive provision'.  

Mr Cowap, REEDNet Director, added: “The three authors are all members of the REEDNet team at Harper Adams and have long and wide involvement in working with employers to satisfy their training needs, and in recent years to achieve academic recognition of these through accreditation.  

“The chapter describes Harper Adams's approach and experience, drawing extensively on examples from the many projects we have undertaken.  Our experience is summarised in the idea of 'courtship underpinned by audit' in the development of professional relationships in a culture of mutual professional trust and confidence.” 

The Higher Education White Paper published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in June, stated that the Government would encourage universities to engage actively with employers to accredit or “kitemark” courses to indicate to students that they are valued by them.”

Harper Adams, via the REEDNet project, has proven highly successful in this field. Having received strategic development funding for employer engagement from the Higher Education Funding Council for England in 2008, Harper Adams met 100% of its target in year one; the second year success are was 75% against 52% national, and for the third year targets were surpassed.

Partnerships have been developed with National Grid, Pets at Home, SBC Care, VSO, Smiths Gore, and many other companies and professional bodies. 

For more information on employer engagement at Harper Adams, click here.

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