Getting Results – how universities will be at the heart of our social and economic recovery

Getting Results, NCEE logo

Ceri Nursaw, Chief Executive of NCEE, talks about the scale of higher education’s contribution to our local communities over the next five years.  She argues that it could be even greater by working in partnership.

NCEE has worked with Universities UK to analyse the impact universities can have on the UK’s economic and social recovery.  Our report shows the extent of that impact on a local and regional level.

Universities have a major role to play in supporting the UK’s economic and social recovery and are already contributing.  Over the next five years we estimate that universities across the UK will provide:

  • £11.6 billion of support and services to small enterprises, businesses and not-for-profits. This includes specialist advice, access to the latest facilities and equipment to develop innovative products, and conducting bespoke research projects.
  • 63,600 years’ worth of training, upskilling and professional development.
  • Over 21,000 new spin-offs, social enterprises, and graduate and staff start-ups.

Our three steps to recovery are for universities to:

  • Grow high-quality jobs – both by being significant local employers and creating opportunities in the local economy
  • Create new companies and start-ups – helping new businesses to start up and grow
  • Help business growth and increased competitiveness – offering further training, advice and support.

It is what we are doing already, but with renewed focus and, we hope, additional long-term investment by government, we can accelerate and grow the work we do.

Big London can drive productivity and job growth.  By working in partnership Big London can maximise the impact of our universities to advise and support businesses to grow and thrive, provide a skilled workforce and create new businesses.

We found that over the next five years just in London universities will provide:

  • Over 4.3million days in training and upskilling to business
  • Over £2bn of support and services to small enterprises, businesses and not for profits
  • Establish nearly 6,000 new companies and charities

Alongside that universities in London will spend over £5bn on their staff – with employees spending some of their income locally.

If you were then to place these numbers alongside the contribution of further education colleges, and other training providers, then you begin to see the extent of the impact we can have.

Our analysis for Universities UK shows the tremendous impact of higher education, and how it will aid social and economic recovery in the UK.  The contribution of our universities is vital to this country, not least the contribution the universities can make in our capital city.

Recognising the value of our universities is crucial.  We still have not won the hearts and minds of our communities.  Universities are often see as aloof and distant or even worse as organisations greedy for student fees.  We must turn this narrative around and show in real terms the impact universities have.  Big London has a real role to play in communicating and demonstrating our common goals, to support a healthy, prosperous and thriving community.

By working with government, local and combined authorities, businesses, colleges and charities we  build back better.

For more information on the work of NCEE contact Ceri Nursaw and visit our website.

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Ceri Nursaw



Posted 02/06/21

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