UK (Kingston University) Kingston University’s Future Skills campaign scoops top prize at PRCA-PoliMonitor Public Affairs Awards

Kingston University’s sector-leading work highlighting the importance of future skills to a thriving national economy has been named exceptional campaign of the year at the annual PRCA-PoliMonitor Public Affairs Awards.

The University was lauded for the success of its Future Skills campaign, which has seen it work closely with parliamentarians, peers, policy-makers, businesses and students to champion the vital role skills for innovation have to play in securing the country’s long-term economic success.

The graduate attributes most valued by industry – such as problem solving, digital competency and the ability to analyse and think creatively – were identified through a YouGov survey of 2,000 businesses commissioned by the University, with the findings launched at an event attended by Government Ministers and cross-party MPs and peers at the House of Commons earlier this year. Informed by the report’s research, future skills teaching is now set to be embedded within every undergraduate degree as a central part of the University’s Town House Strategy.

Announcing the winner of the exceptional category award, the judges praised the University for a “simply stunning campaign that has made a national impact…delivering tangible change internally and externally”. Its future skills work had harnessed the media, thought leadership and an impressive array of business partners, which had achieved cross-party consensus and engagement and embedded future skills in the political narrative, the panel added.

Through the campaign, Kingston University has called for the establishment of a Future Skills Council bringing together industry, universities and policymakers to tackle the nation’s skills shortages. It has also advocated for the Minister responsible for higher education to sit across both the Department for Education and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The significance of the University’s work has recently seen Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier give evidence to the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee as part of an inquiry examining the future of the creative industries in the United Kingdom. He used this opportunity to emphasise the importance of a progressive new model of education focused on delivering the skills for innovation required by industry.

The Public Affairs Awards recognition demonstrated the campaign’s wide-ranging impact through its engagement with business, politicians and other key stakeholders, University Director of Public Affairs and Insight and Acting Head of Brand and Communications Jen Edwards said.

“The success of the Future Skills campaign is testament to the hard work of staff across the institution in highlighting the role government, business and the higher education sector can together play in ensuring the country’s graduates are equipped with the skills most needed by industry,” she said. “The value of this approach has been widely endorsed by leading businesses, policymakers and MPs from across the political spectrum. It has also been welcomed resoundingly by our own students, who are now benefiting from the roll-out of future skills teaching across the curriculum.”

The awards celebrate the impact of organisations and individuals across the public affairs industry, both in the UK and the EU, with this year’s ceremony held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in central London. Other winners on the night included Citizens Advice for its advocacy work on the cost of living crisis, the Safer Stairs campaign from Field Consulting and RoSPA and a campaign by Deryn and Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru focused on ending new cases of HIV in Wales.