David Willetts spoke to a University of Birmingham audience about the UK's higher education sector, science and the importance of training for young people.
The speech was Mr Willetts’ first keynote as Minister for Universities and Science. He said:
“Vince [Cable] and I are determined to avoid clunky bureaucratic controls as we support excellence and rigour in HE, FE and our research base, and foster partnerships between universities and business.”
Mr Willetts also said:
- The strength of the UK’s universities comes from their autonomy.
- Rigour and excellence should be pursued, whether in academic or vocational study.
- It is important that university research has a positive impact on the UK economy. However, he had doubts about the impact agenda proposed for the Research Excellence Framework
- It is crucial that the UK develops a technician class.
- The Government must provide a wide range of routes into further and higher education, including high-quality apprenticeships.
Mr Willetts had earlier visited the Chemical Engineering Fuel Cells Group lab, arriving in one of the University’s hydrogen powered cars.