March 10, 2006

What role for higher education in the development of the 21st century workplace?

Higher Education Conference Series: Conference 6organised by Universities Ireland in partnership with the IBEC/CBI Joint Business Council

10 March 2006

Grand Hotel, Malahide, Co. Dublin

At the sixth North-South Higher Education Conference in Malahide, Co Dublin, on 10 March 2006 were: (left to right) Mr Jim O'Hara, General Manager Intel Ireland; Dr Danny McCoy, Director of Economic Policy, Irish Business and Employers Confederation; Sir Digby Jones, Director General, Confederation of British Industry; Dr Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation, and Dr Chris Gibson, Chairman, Centre for Cross Border Studies.

The sixth North/South Higher Education Conference centred on a number of themes around the issues of upskilling, lifelong learning and workplace development, and the part higher education might play in these areas. Some of the questions addressed included:

  • How will the content and structure of the higher education curriculum dynamically change to respond to emerging technologies, new skills sets, multi-disciplinary skills and soft skills relevant to the work place, including programmes which foster adaptability, flexibility, innovation skills, communication, teamwork and problem solving?
  • How will higher education institutions support a greater span of aptitudes, abilities and ages?
  • Will accessibility be facilitated through extensive part-time. flexible and modular options?
  • Will there be access-type courses with admission practices geared to individual needs?
  • How will transparency be introduced into curriculum design, credit transfer and recognition of prior learning?
  • How will ICT and new technologies be used to enhance flexibility and efficiency?
  • Will there be work-based programmes, including internships, which will provide practical work experience and commercial understanding?

The keynote speakers were Mr Turlough O’Sullivan, Director General of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC); Mr Peter Rigney, Education Officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Sir Digby Jones, Director General, Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and Dr Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation.

Other speakers included Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, President, Dublin City University; Mr Brian Turtle, Director, Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education; Professor Brian Norton, President, Dublin Institute of Technology; Mr Martin Cronin, Chief Executive, Forfás, and Mr Hugh Tollyfield, Deputy Director of Higher Education Employment Engagement, UK Department for Education and Skills. The conference was opened by the Secretary General of the Irish Department of Education and Science, Ms Brigid McManus, and the Permanent Secretary of the Northern Irelalnd Department for Employment and Learning, Dr Aideen McGinley.

PROGRAMME

MORNING SESSION

Chair: Dr Don Thornhill, Chair NationalCompetitiveness Council and Former Chair, Higher Education Authority
9.15 am Official Opening by Ms Brigid McManus, Secretary General, Department of Education and Science, Dublin, and Ms Aideen McGinley, Permanent Secretary, Department for Employment and Learning, Belfast
9.30 Keynote address: Mr Turlough O’Sullivan, Director General, Irish Business and Employers Confederation
10.00 Keynote response: Mr David Begg, General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions
10.30 Three responses from the higher education sector:

  • Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, President, Dublin City University
  • Mr Brian Turtle, Director, Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education
  • Professor Brian Norton, President, Dublin Institute of Technology
11.15 Refreshments (Tara Suite 2)
11.45 Round table discussions with facilitators
12.45 pm Lunch (Tara Suite 2)

AFTERNOON SESSION

Chair: Dr Chris Gibson, Pro-Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast and Chairman, Centre for Cross Border Studies
2.00 Mr Martin Cronin, Chief Executive, Forfás, the Irish Government’s national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation
2.30 Mr Hugh Tollyfield, Deputy Director, Higher Education Employment Engagement, Department for Education and Skills, London: Higher Skills for Success in British Education and Business
3.00 Refreshments
3.30 Plenary discussion with panel of speakers:

  • Mr Declan Billington, Chairman, Confederation of British Industry Northern Ireland;
  • Professor Tom Collins, Professor of Education, National University of Ireland Maynooth;
  • Ms Marion Coy, Director, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (to be confirmed);
  • Mr Pat Colgan, Chief Executive, Special EU Programmes Body, Belfast;
  • Ms Tracy Meharg, Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, Invest Northern Ireland
5.00 Break

EVENING SESSION

6.00 Reception
6.30 Pre-dinner address by Sir Digby Jones, Director General, Confederation of British Industry
7.00 Conference dinner
8.30 After dinner address by Dr Craig R. Barrett
Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation
Listen to the address (31 mins) [7.2 MB]

See the briefing paper [219 kb] and list of attendees [33 kb].

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