From education to employment

Heriot-Watt University expands its industry partnership approach with strategic appointment

Heriot-Watt University has today announced the appointment of Jen Henderson as Head of Talent Partnerships, a significant strategic new role which will drive further business engagement and industry partnerships to reduce the skills gap in key growth sectors of the Scottish economy. 

Announced ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship Week (7-11 March), the role will support Heriot-Watt University’s expanding ecosystem of B2B offerings for industry, including its Scotland-based Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) programme.

The programme uses strategic business partnerships to equip students with industry-focused education through work-based learning opportunities. Heriot-Watt University currently works with employers across Scotland to develop skills and workforce talent in key STEM sectors, including construction, engineering, and computing science.

Having previously worked as Programme Manager for Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Forth Valley, Jen brings a wealth of experience in delivering successful collaborations across public, private and third sector organisations in education, business and communities. 

She will be responsible for establishing and coordinating sustainable partnerships with industry that enhance skills development opportunities for both business and learners and build upon the success of the GA programme.

Chief Entrepreneurial Executive, David Richardson, drives collaboration between business enterprise and academic talent at Heriot-Watt University. He said:

“Heriot-Watt University is well-known for pioneering education that drives industry through innovation-centric partnerships and collaboration. Our Graduate Apprenticeship programme is helping to address critical skills gaps in STEM growth sectors whilst improving workplace diversity and inclusion. It also provides businesses with a cost-effective way to develop the skills of existing employees, attract new talent and contribute positively to Scotland’s economy post-pandemic.

“Jen brings a high level of expertise to her role with more than 20 years of strategic leadership and management experience. She is well known for delivering collaborative partnership work at scale that enhances services, improves community outcomes and grows revenues. Her clear vision on the importance of academia and industry collaboration will undoubtedly complement and strengthen the values of our programme.”

Commenting on her appointment, Jen Henderson, Head of Talent Partnerships, said:

“Apprenticeships are a key way to develop and retain skills and talent for business and play an important role in Scotland’s economy. The Graduate Apprenticeship programme at Heriot-Watt University has a rich heritage of working with industry partners to produce degree-qualified employees who are equipped with the skills needed to shape growing and future industries.

“Our programmes cover a range of disciplines that can help employers to upskill, reskill and recruit 

by giving employees access to learning opportunities that deliver on-the-job practical experience combined with academic study at any stage in their career.

“Ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, I’m committed to the continued improvement of opportunities for our current and future learners and the development of our growing network of quality employer partners. I look forward to building upon the successes achieved by the programme to date and creating further skills opportunities for industry that deliver future prosperity for our students.”

On International Women’s Day (8 March), Heriot-Watt University, working with a range of partners, will launch a survey to all partner employers to investigate workplace diversity, visibility and inclusion as part of its STEM Workforce Diversity initiative that aims to promote inclusion, break barriers and advance access to learning for all. 

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