EAUC Future Business Council

Ground-breaking EAUC Future Business Council starts to bridge graduate skills gap

Executives from leading businesses, universities and colleges now meet regularly as a pioneering Council to tackle the worsening issue of the graduate skills gap.

Members of the Council include Marks and Spencer, HSBC, Prudential, Unilever, PwC, National Grid, BP, SSE & Universities of Glasgow, Cork, Harvard, Southampton, Manchester and Nottingham Trent. Full list of Council members below.
An understanding of sustainable development was identified as one of the biggest skills missing from the average graduate. Often associated with only environmental practices, sustainable development is actually an incredibly broad term that is generally accepted to mean ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. To give focus to the concept, sustainable development works to balance three priorities: economic, social and environmental concerns.
It is an integral skill for most graduate positions at global companies and education is widely accepted as key to bringing about this ability to balance, with tertiary education playing a particularly strong role. The EAUC Future Business Council aims to bridge the skills gap at its roots by suggesting practical action to ensure students of all disciplines understand the need for balance and can use this understanding to handle complex problems with interdisciplinary perspectives.

Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at Marks and Spencer, said: “We must create a society, and economy that serves it, that works for all. That means radical changes to how we run business. This will require a new cohort of leaders and a wealth of sustainable innovation to spring from the higher education sector. We believe that EAUC Future Business Council (FBC) can align the considerable hard work being done in individual higher education establishments and companies to ensure that our activity is ‘more than the sum of its parts’ and we can together accelerate the shift to a sustainable future.”

Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, Chair in Sustainability and Leadership at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Faculty of Business and Law, said: "As leaders and educators of today, we have a responsibility to ensure our future leaders, educators and consumers understand the interplay of society, economy and environment to ensure sustainable futures for all.  Creating the EAUC Future Business Council (FBC) has brought together businesses and universities to work in an action-orientated collaboration to seek solutions to enable this.  There is substantial good practice and exciting innovation in individual universities and businesses which are great building blocks towards sustainability.  The EAUC FBC will be the cement that holds them together."

FBC latest:

3 September 2018:  
Business Members of the Future Business Council met and agreed there was a good opportunity for EAUC Future Business group to act as a bridge between universities and business on sustainability research and insights.  Sharing relevant research and white papers in a plain English, accessible way.    

To this end we will test a simple newsletter containing plain English summaries of relevant research which we’ll share with EAUC FB members in October.  

The meeting noted that the primary interest of the business members of the FBC is in the graduates available for them to recruit. The hard and soft graduate skill needs of future oriented industry need to be more clearly and consistently stated. So a principle objective of the FBC is to create an aligned ‘one voice’ from the corporate sector which will be more audible to university leadership. Decision was made to revisit and update the FBC draft paper on Graduate Attributes. This needs to relate to general graduates/recruits and not specialist environmental ones. Recognition that we need HR Depts involved.

30 May 2018: 
As a high level interface between sector and employer senior executives, the EAUC– led Council met in May to review its initial two lines of enquiry. 1. Graduate attributes – developing a common understanding of what these need to be so that employers and universities are aligned in their inclusion of what is needed for 'graduateness' and sustainability, and 2. Governance and board membership - building a greater understanding of how universities operate, and seeking means by which new Board members with sustainability credentials from businesses can be appointed onto Boards.

18 May 2017:
For details of the first FBC meeting, click here

FBC Business members:
  • Adnams
  • Anglian Water
  • BP
  • HSBC
  • Interface
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Marks & Spencer
  • National Grid
  • Prudential
  • PWC
  • SSE
  • The Crown Estate
  • Unilever
  • Veolia
  • WSP

FBC Education members:
  • Borders College
  • Bridgend College
  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Harvard University
  • Keele University
  • London South Bank University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Newcastle University
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • University College Cork
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Gloucestershire
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Surrey
  • University of the West of England
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David
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