Academia and education have always operated distinctly from business, government bodies and industry. As far as all parties were concerned, each had their own objectives and modus operandi that precluded the need to collaborate (except when funding was required from the government, perhaps). Students received their education from a university, graduated and then began the process of finding work in organisations about which they knew very little. This status quo might have sufficed in the days when a university degree guaranteed employment, but not anymore. With an ever competitive job market owing to rising numbers of graduates and employer expectations, universities need to reach out to organisations outside of academia in order to remain competitive themselves by attracting human capital and improving university rankings.
Partnerships improve university rankings (and therefore reputation) directly and indirectly
Partnering strategically with the right governmental and industry organisations can leverage your university’s teaching and research capabilities, as well as create multiple opportunities for its faculty and students, as we examined in our previous blog on the topic. So how does this impact rankings? In the case of the QS university rankings, the number and quality of university partnerships is taken into consideration when formulating scores. Not only this, but partnerships also create employment opportunities for students and give industrial or governmental partners access to a pool of highly skilled prospective employees. The sooner your graduates find employment after university, the better your destination metrics (another component in rankings). Students are also more likely to want to study at an institution that facilitates job securement.
Solid relationships form the foundation of productive partnerships
In order for a partnership with governmental or industrial organisations to flourish, the relationship between the two needs to be founded on mutual understanding and transparency. To incite industrial partners to team up with your institution requires that you exercise an open and friendly “front door” policy, as described by Feridun Hamdullahpur, President of Waterloo University writing for Times Higher Education. This signals to potential partners that you understand their needs and goals. To achieve this, it’s worth appointing a corporate liaison officer, or similar, to manage the relationship and expectations of a potential partnership.
The right partnerships make your university more attractive to students and research staff
Strong partnerships aid human capital attraction in two ways: they make your institution a more attractive place to study for talented students as they’ll be given support, through the partnerships, in finding employment after graduation. This will improve the destination metrics that feed into university rankings. Human capital attraction through partnerships also enables the recruitment of the research and teaching staff who will improve research output and teaching quality; two factors that positively impact university rankings and reputation.
Talented students are more likely to choose a university that can support their career goals
Partnerships with the right governmental, industrial or corporate organisations are lucrative opportunities for your university. Not only are synergies created that benefit all parties, but institutional reputation, brand image and rankings are improved too. Human capital attraction can be facilitated by offering students a skills development programme to improve student employability (thereby further increasing the chances that graduates find employment after university).
Curriculo has designed its Industry Engagement Programme (IEP) with this in mind, empowering students and faculty to instil in learners the skills they need to thrive in their careers. Download your guide for more information about enhancing student employability.