Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK – Higher education applications up in total, but universities are still having to work hard to encourage women into technology and engineering


The Chief Executive of Universities UK, Nicola Dandridge, is responsible for the leadership and management of the organisation, having been appointed by the UK Board in September 2009. Universities UK is the membership organisation and definitive voice for universities in the UK, providing leadership and support to members, to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. Nicola was previously Chief Executive of the Equality Challenge Unit and prior to this, she was a lawyer, qualified in both England and Scotland and working in private practice.

Nicola Dandridge - Universities UK

Nicola Dandridge

Earlier in July, UCAS published statistics on all full-time undergraduate applications submitted on time for the 30 June deadline – the final chance for applicants to submit a selection of university and college choices through the main scheme.

Universities UK opinion

It is encouraging to see the numbers applying to university increasing again this year, demonstrating the widespread recognition of the importance of a university degree and the positive impact it has on people’s lives and the economy.

Importance of a university degree in a global, knowledge-based economy

The opportunities afforded by higher education are not just there for young people, but also for people of any age. It is therefore particularly good to see an increase of nearly 9,000 more mature students compared to last year. We are a knowledge-based economy and rely increasingly on people to develop their skills throughout their lives.

The increase in applicants applying for subjects such as engineering and computing is also welcome. Those subjects play a vital role in meeting the skills needs of UK employers in globally competitive industries.

Universities still having to work hard to boost applications from women in technology and engineering

However, it is still a concern that the number of women applying to study these courses remains disproportionally low when compared to the number of male applicants. Universities are aware of this and continue to work hard to encourage women into technology and engineering through their outreach activities.

While today’s figures are good news, we would highlight the need for any government after the next General Election to develop a student funding system that is sustainable, supports affordable expansion, drives social mobility and produces the skilled graduates that the economy needs.

The UCAS statistics can be seen here:

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