Office For Students Innovation and Challenge Fund for Skills


The Office for Students have provided the following information for AGCAS members


The first competition for funding issued through an ‘innovation and challenge fund’ for skills will invite providers to develop and implement projects to test ways of improving outcomes for graduates who study and seek employment in their home domiciled region. Around 45 per cent of graduates responding to the 2015-16 DLHE survey both studied and sought post-study employment in their home domiciled region. Given uneven regional productivity, the variability of labour markets across the country, and constraints around mobility for some graduates, we recognise that there may be risks to achieving successful outcomes for graduates who seek post-study employment in areas with lower productivity and growth.

We want to support choice for graduates and students and, as set out in the Industrial Strategy, many regions need their skills and knowledge in order to thrive. OfS is committed to ensuring graduates maximise their investment in higher education, fully utilise the qualifications and experiences they have obtained, and reach their full potential.

OfS will make available between £100k and £300k to providers to develop and implement innovative projects in response to this call. Up to £500k will be available for collaborative bids involving higher education providers working with strategic partners including employers, LEPs, and other relevant organisations.

For further information on how AGCAS can support you in devloping regional collaborations in order to access this funding please contact Elaine Boyes, Executive Director

Colleagues may remember previous regional collaborations to support graduate retention:

Their aim was to:

  • showcase the opportunities available to students/graduates in a particular region
  • highlight the range of services HE careers services in the region offered
  • help students/graduates develop their career in the region
  • promote graduate employment in the region

 AGCAS Scotland have continued with regional collaboration with the very successful ScotGrad collaboration.

The fund is expected to open at the end of September