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Summary

This report, and accompanying research report from SQW Ltd, present the findings and recommendations from the Quality Assurance Task Group on employer engagement.

The Task Group was established jointly by HEFCE and Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to consider the quality assurance needs of employer-led and funded provision and advise on whether any additional support is required for the higher education (HE) sector. The Task Group was chaired by Professor Eeva Leinonen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire.

The report highlights that, overall, issues of quality assurance are not viewed by the HE sector as a primary barrier to the expansion of HE for workforce development. The current Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) is viewed as important for the maintenance of confidence in HE standards, and as being generally supportive. However, the Task Group highlights that the HE sector is at an early stage in developing employer engagement and there is a need is for sharing of successful QA strategies within the sector. The report highlights some of these strategies for use by institutions in their own contexts.

The Task Group's recommendations include the establishment of demonstrator projects to explore specific areas where more support is needed and to inform the ongoing review of the QAF as employer engagement becomes more embedded in the HE sector.

The Task Group's report was considered by the Quality Assurance and Learning and Teaching Strategic Committee in June 2008 which agreed that the HE Academy, QAA, and Foundation Degree Forward should lead in taking forward the recommendations and report on progress to HEFCE's strategic committees at the end of 2008. HEFCE will work with these agencies over the coming year to implement the Task Group's recommendations in full.