Higher Education Council visits Aston

Business and research links viewed at Aston
Business and research links viewed at Aston

2 June 2011

The Chief Executive of the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) visited Aston University to discover more about the Institution’s strong links between business and research, and its highly regarded graduate placement scheme.

David Docherty, Chief Executive of CIHE, met with senior Aston staff to view the University’s future business plans and research, while outlining key themes for the CIHE.

The CIHE is a strategic leadership network of blue-chip companies working with vice chancellors and universities to develop the UK’s knowledge-base economy.  Mr Docherty identified language education, entrepreneurship and placement opportunities as key themes for ensuring the higher education sector is capable of meeting the UK’s competitive business needs.

Aston University itself is ranked 10th out of all UK Universities for its graduate-level employment success over the last 3 years in theSunday Times University Guide 2011. Currently, 60% of Aston students are enrolled on placement years, sandwich courses and year abroad degree programmes, the highest of any UK university.

Impressed by what he had seen and heard of Aston, Mr Docherty said; ‘I was delighted to visit Aston and to hear about both its placement programme, which is a hugely important component of helping graduates get jobs, and the Vice Chancellor and senior management team's forward-looking strategies for these complex times.’

The visit follows Aston’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Julia King’s recent appointment to the CIHE Task Force on Enhancing Value: Getting the most of the UK Research. The task force is looking at the question: How do we deepen understanding of the value of the research base in the UK and then enhance it? They are working to ensure that government policies and business and university activities are sufficiently aligned, not only to ensure maximum economic impact, but also to keep the UK at the forefront of research in all its forms.

The CIHE’s current focus includes employability, skills and workforce development, university-business research collaboration and future demand for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subject skills.

In addition to his role at CIHE Mr Docherty is a leading figure in media circles, an ex member of the BBC Board of Management and the current chairman of the Digital television group, which is the industry body for digital television in the UK.