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      The Role of MK:U in shaping the Oxford-Cambridge Arc

      Five part Q&A with Professor Lynette Ryals OBE, CEO, MK:U

      18 Feb 2022 Prof Lynette Ryals OBE, CEO, MK:U

      1. What is the founding philosophy of MK:U, and what is it doing differently from a digital skills perspective?

      The founding philosophy of MK:U is that we are a university designed with business, for business. Working with and consulting with employers at every step of the way, MK:U will develop and maintain a curriculum and an educational approach that is uniquely relevant to the world of work – in effect, blurring the boundaries between ‘work’ and ‘learning’, always thinking about how knowledge can be applied to tackling real-world business and societal issues.

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      2. Is it urgent that we rethink our approach towards the traditional curriculum? 

      The UK is suffering a chronic and growing skills gap, especially in digital skills. With companies struggling to recruit or train enough talent to meet their needs, our economic performance is being adversely impacted. This isn’t just about producing lots of people with relevant skills on paper; it is about producing people who can apply their learning so that they ‘hit the ground running’ when they are at work.

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      3. How do we ensure that future generations have the necessary skills to be adaptable and agile in a changing economy?

      At MK:U we believe that future generations will need flexible and transferable  skills to enable them to adapt to new technologies and innovations throughout their working lives. We already see the rate of technological change driving an increased requirement for people to re-train during their working lifetimes, a development that is likely to gain pace in years to come.

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      4. Why is the Arc the most appropriate region to be carving the path for transformative education?

      Our values (Innovative, Exciting, Relevant, and Professional) reflect the distinctive qualities of the Oxford-Cambridge Innovation Arc, which is home to breakthrough scientific innovations in exciting fields including space propulsion, life sciences, and aerospace. 

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      5. What do you see as being the greatest opportunities and challenges as we upskill to meet the future demands of high-technology industries?

      The opportunities are huge, both for individuals and for society. Technology changes offer the creation of new, skilled jobs and whole new industries. A World Economic Forum report in June 2021 found that robotics and automation increases both productivity and jobs; PwC estimates that Artificial Intelligence could add $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030 – more than the current output of India and China combined – resulting in an increase of 14% in global GDP. New technologies such as automation and robotics offer solutions that could aid inclusivity by helping those with health or learning differences to participate more fully in their communities.

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      Webinar: Creating a Talent Pipeline to Supercharge the Arc


      In the third instalment of our webinar series with the Arc Universities Group and CBI, we will be discussing how to create a talent pipeline for the future, to supercharge the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

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