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Universities urged to churn out more mature graduates

Published: Thursday, 13 September 2007   Category: Government policies

Britain's universities have been told that they should tailor more of their courses towards mature students.

The plea came from John Denham, universities secretary, who is desperately trying to plug the skills gap.

His views were largely welcomed by Universities UK (UUK), the organisation of educational leaders, who stressed that more funding was necessary to implement the plans.

Mr Denham, in a speech to the organisation, said: "Two important trends are coming together which will inevitably have consequences for universities.

"The first is that the rising tide of 18-year olds will begin to ebb, as UUK's own analysis this week shows.

"We estimate that population figures for 18 year olds in England will drop by just over 14% per cent from 675,800 in 2006 to 579,300 in 2020."

He added: "Secondly, as a country we simply cannot afford to have a higher education sector that is focused only on school and college leavers.

"As the Leitch report made clear, 70% per cent of the workforce in 2020 has already left school. Many of them need university level education."

Meanwhile, recent research by Robson Taylor, suggests that 31 per cent of graduates and other jobseekers would rather work for large corporations than their smaller counterparts.ADNFCR-1068-ID-18279022-ADNFCR

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