9 May 2016 | By Malcolm Press Community

Universities and the skills for business

Universities and businesses share the same goal - and there are many ways of working together

The fundamental business of a university is knowledge. Through our research, knowledge exchange and undergraduate and postgraduate education we create, share, expand and translate knowledge. And businesses can benefit from the fruits of our endeavours.

At Manchester Metropolitan University, we have an open door to business of all scales, from small and medium-sized enterprises to global multinationals. The nature of our engagement varies, covering the provision of bespoke training, business leadership, business growth and marketing. It also includes the co-creation of products at the early stages of technical readiness, or adapting existing knowledge to enable businesses to be innovative, do things differently and generate value.

We are committed to ensuring that the knowledge collateral we generate has application in the real world – whether that’s through the values and skills our graduates take away, practical applications for our research, or the partnerships we establish to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. 

Our incubator space, Innospace, originated in a Centre for Enterprise project and currently supports over 100 student and graduate start-ups by providing low cost space and practical business development support.  The Centre for Enterprise itself provides a bridge between the university and businesses and employers, with fully funded business skills programmes to support business growth alongside a research team specialising in small and medium sized enterprises. This model exemplifies the partnership approach that characterises the relationships between Manchester Met and SMEs. 

Hence when Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills recently announced a new fund to expand Degree Level Apprenticeships, he did so at our university.

A shared goal

Our degree apprenticeships are a logical extension of our approach to education, focused on chartered management, chemical science and digital and technology solutions. They have been designed together with employers of the calibre of Accenture, BT, Capgemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HMRC, Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group and Network Rail.

These programmes work towards a shared goal, helping to tackle skills gaps, careers to flourish and industry to thrive, as well as encouraging more people into university. They are further proof of what can be achieved when education and businesses work side by side.

And we are keen to develop them further in partnership with employers both within Greater Manchester and nationally.

The university will continue to work on ensuring we have an open door for and to business. People must know how to contact us; that we are pro-active in seeking out opportunities; that we aim to listen and to deliver on time and to budget, and that our business partnerships are of key importance to our mission of transforming lives and making a difference.