College and university relationships should be strengthened to better support students, employers and local communities, says new London Higher report

London, UK – 20 November 2023. London Higher’s new report entitled “Talking Tertiary: How London’s universities and colleges are working together to support students, employers and local communities” looks at the interplay between colleges, universities, their students, the city’s skills needs and local communities, with contributions from the Association of Colleges, BusinessLDN, The Edge Foundation, London and South East Education Group, London South Bank University and Middlesex University London, in addition to London Higher.

This report looks at dynamic and emerging collaborations around tertiary education in London, addressing the pivotal role of partnership working between colleges and universities in the capital and concludes with three recommendations to policymakers:

  • Policy reform in this area cannot wait: without immediate action, a whole generation could miss out on opportunity, employers will fall short of productivity, and the whole nation will lose out on economic prosperity and success.
  • This isn’t about designing something from scratch, it’s about refining the high-quality infrastructure that is already there: our universities and colleges are already doing excellent work providing individuals with life-changing opportunities. What is needed now is a consistent and harmonious regulatory, funding and policy framework around them to allow them to thrive, not just survive.
  • We must embrace the diversity of the regions, taking place-based approaches to what works: for too long, policymakers have tried to fit the diversity of the regions into a ‘one-size-fits-all’ national policy approach, rather than take a tailored approach to what works best for each part of the country. The Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) have laid the groundwork for bespoke regional approaches, so it is now imperative that we build on this momentum to enhance regional skills ecosystems and deliver provision that facilitates employment and progression in local areas.

The report highlights the significance of fostering stronger relationships between higher education, further education and other London stakeholders. We now ask policymakers to ensure that the landscape is favourable for these changes to take place.

Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive Officer at London Higher said:

“This report serves as a compass for policymakers trying to wade through the murky quagmire of tertiary education and guides us toward a future where better collaboration and partnerships between colleges, universities, employers, and local communities can become a reality. We hope the Government will support these partnerships, providing lifechanging opportunities for future generations and ensuring the nation continues to prosper and succeed.”


  1. London Higher is the membership organisation for 50+ universities and higher education colleges across the capital. As the largest representative body of its kind in England, London Higher represents the full diversity of the capital’s higher vibrant education sector, from small, specialist conservatoires and research institutes to large, multi-faculty universities.
  2. The full report is available at:
  3. The report is under the #TalkingTertiary hashtag on social media. We encourage universities to share their own case studies under the hashtag too.
  4. For any media enquiries, please contact Anna Zvagule, Head of Communications at London Higher on