A CBI-Universities UK report has highlighted the importance of collaboration between businesses and universities in maintaining the UK’s competitive edge.

The ‘Stepping Higher’ report, which was sponsored by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), includes case studies from companies such as Ford, Network Rail and Logica, who have successfully collaborated on commercial projects with universities.

According to government research, £5bn of the £33bn spent on training annually could be provided by universities. A recent survey by the CBI found that more than half of the 600 employers questioned were worried about future skills shortages.

Professor Rick Trainor, president of Universities UK, said universities were becoming more business friendly but wanted to make collaboration between the two easier.

He said: ‘The report highlights some of the areas where universities and employers could each look at doing things differently. In particular, it asks whether universities need to be clearer about how they can add value to businesses and how they can become more accessible to employers.’

A copy of Stepping Higher: Workforce development through employer-higher education partnership can be downloaded by clicking here.