The Knowledge Exchange Framework and Levelling Up: understanding the importance of engagement for students and employers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


For the sector, the assumption that young people need to go to university to increase their labour market value, alongside the introduction, rapid increase and then freezing of student tuition fees has created a financial bubble that has distorted investment in student facilities and accommodation and has shown signs of bursting during Covid 19. That pressure has fallen most keenly on non-vocational subject areas, with Government demonstrating about ‘Mickey Mouse’ (Donelan, 2022) degrees by reducing student loans and threatening to reduce support further. Students are increasingly concerned about the labour market value of a range of subject areas, including those that traditionally have been held in high esteem, such as Politics, that contribute a range of analytical, organizational and communicative skills of critical importance to society. Meanwhile, in July 2023, Government advertised their intention to improve education, by reducing the number of what they determine to be 'low quality degrees' (, 2023). In what follows, we provide an account of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and the way in which it can be harnessed effectively to increase labour market value and contribute to addressing Levelling Up. Our account is more amoral in its instrumental concern with engagement than, for example, Selby’s (2018). This stems from appreciation of the various professional constraints within which colleagues operate. Moreover, while we focus on the UK context, the concern for employability and the suggestions within the chapter are of relevance in other jurisdictions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow to ensure the employability of a university graduate
EditorsSaskia Loer Hansen, Kathy Daniels
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Feb 2024

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