Standing at crossroads: when Higher Education meets Employers

At ILM we are committed to delivering leadership without limits - across every sector. Recently, we appointed a new ILM Business Development Manager for Higher Education (HE). Meet our HE expert, Julie Rowlett, and find out why we’re committed to shaping the future of leadership and management learning

29 January 2018

Julie Rowlett, ILM's Business Development Manager for Higher Education

Let’s talk higher education. In the past year there has been a wide-ranging debate on the UK’s current higher education model. As a whole, the sector is coming under increasing pressure to address some of the most critical issues facing the country; at a national level, this is due to the skills lag and the decrease in productivity, while at an international level, there’s the upcoming Brexit and all its implications.

But despite potential difficulties, these challenging circumstances are creating more opportunities for HE institutions than ever before.

Take the Apprenticeship Levy. Introduced in April 2017 to boost productivity through upskilling the workforce, it gives HE the chance to adapt their qualification pathways to the demands of the market. For example, the more HE institutions adopt degree and higher level apprenticeships, the more employers will recognise their value as a solution to their development needs.

At ILM, we believe there is a brilliant opportunity for HE to become a force for solving the leadership lag and management talent pipelines we outlined in our manifesto last year. To help us support the sector as they navigate the road ahead, ILM’s Julie Rowlett is dedicating her time to building up our relationships with higher education bodies and ensuring that they have everything they need to make a real impact on individuals, organisations, and the economy.

FAQ Session with Julie Rowlett, our newly appointed ILM Business Development Manager for Higher Education

Why was there a need to focus on Higher Education from an ILM perspective?

It’s coming up to a year since the Apprenticeship Levy has been in place, and I’ve been working closely with our customers – training providers and employers across every sector – to help them make the most of it.

One thing that’s become very clear to me is that for Higher Education Institutions, the Levy can bring tremendous advantages. For employers, pairing formal education with first-hand work experience is a winning way to upskill employees and make the most of the levy opportunity.

As my main objective for this new role, I would like to support universities and employers understand the immense potential of such collaboration models and how they could contribute to their students/employees development.

What challenges are HE institutions and employers are currently facing?

Actually, the challenge is not only for HEI and employers but for learners themselves.

For universities, the challenge is to adapt to the new structure of apprenticeships, and to understand the difference between the previous model and the existent one. Previously, their main task was to attract students. Now, they need to engage with employers and access their levy, which requires a complete overhaul in their way of thinking.

For the employers, the challenge is to support learners by giving them the opportunity to put into practice what they are learning at university. And for the learners, they need to identify the programmes that will most effectively support their development, and effectively implement their learnings in the workplace so they can demonstrate how they have evolved for the benefit not only of themselves, but for their employer.

Give you share an example of a successful collaboration between ILM and HEI?

Throughout my experience working at ILM, whilst HEI was not solely my focus, I had a number of successful collaborations with universities who aligned their programmes with ILM’s qualifications, while working with employers at the same time.

One such example is the University of Chester. The students are undertaking a degree apprenticeship, aligned with ILM’s qualifications. Airbus are amongst the employers who are supporting their managers to undertake this degree apprenticeship pathway in management. The dual-accredited degree programme is proving to be very successful and highly appreciated by students, the employer and the university alike.


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