Q: In your opinion, what were the major developments in the UK higher education sector in 2015? Has it been a successful year for UK HE?
A: The removal of the tuition fee cap has been a big change in the sector, creating a demand-driven system, and the impact has yet to emerge. What we are seeing is an HE sector which must continually adapt to policy changes and the emergence of an ever more discerning student ‘customer’. This is already changing how the sector works and creating positive experiences for students is now key to success for universities.
Q: Removing the cap on student numbers is one of the most debated topics in UK higher education. How will this affect the UK HE scene next year?
A: As a global business we have been watching the effect on markets in our other territories. Uncapping was implemented in Australia in 2012 and a recent review suggested that it created growth in online and off-campus learning. As an accommodation provider, Campus Living Villages (CLV) maintains a flexible model which enables us to move with the market. We are already offering short-term contracts to students throughout the year in many of our sites and this is something we plan to continue.
Creating positive experiences for students is now key to success for universities.
Q: Figures released from HESA earlier this year show that graduate employability is improving. Could universities be doing more to boost prospects for their students?
A: The competitive jobs market and the high expectations from employers around graduate talent mean that everyone in the sector needs to play a role in ensuring that the next generation of graduates have the best chance of finding a rewarding career when they leave university.
There is a real opportunity for universities and commercial partners, like CLV, to work together to provide students with openings for desirable work experience and a productive stepping stone into their career. We support students by offering employment in our village, internships and our recently launched Graduate Scheme, which began in September 2015. We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of our partners and we were pleased to welcome two new recruits into the business from the University of Salford. We are keen to expand this scheme with more of our partners.
Robert Moyle is the UK Operations Director at Campus Living Villages