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2nd January 2024

Higher Education Insights for 2024 and Beyond

Universities face new and existing challenges.

From personalised student journey’s and embracing technology (VR, AR and AI), to enhancing graduate employability through practical skills, universities face challenges that demand strategic responses.

Our Managing Director, Kim highlights the challenges that universities are set to face in 2024 and beyond. These key considerations, emphasise the necessity for universities to adapt to these developing circumstances.

1. The Student Experience:

The pandemic highlighted the importance for universities to provide more than traditional lectures. Incorporating in-person classes with recorded lectures, prioritising interactive learning, and supporting student-driven social initiatives are essential. Additionally, universities must enhance their online learning technologies to offer more flexibility. In 2024, we anticipate these models to evolve, providing students with greater flexibility and a personalised educational journey.

Personalised video communication is becoming integral to the student journey, from admissions to alumni relations. Gen Z’s preference for video content, represented by platforms like TikTok, makes personalised videos a powerful tool for universities.

2. Virtual and Augmented Reality:

In 2024, universities will heavily integrate virtual reality and augmented reality into their course content, particularly in fields like medicine, engineering, and the arts. This shift makes learning more engaging, with virtual labs and lifelike situations enhancing the educational experience. A recent announcement will see up to £17 million in government funding creating more scholarships for AI and data science conversion courses.

As an aside, guidance has been introduced stating students should be taught to use AI appropriately in their studies, while also making them aware of the risks of plagiarism, bias and inaccuracy in generative AI. In early 2023, For example Turnitin (already used by many universities to spot plagiarism) released a feature that aims to detect content generated by artificial intelligence applications like ChatGPT.

3. Increased Focus on Graduate Employability:

Universities are placing a heightened emphasis on practical, industry-relevant skills. Collaborations with companies ensure that students are equipped for the job market. The government’s investment in apprenticeship training further underscores this commitment.

In the recent Autumn Statement the government announced a boost in apprenticeship training in sectors that contribute to economic growth, like engineering and manufacturing, the government is investing £50 million in a two-year pilot, starting in Spring 2024.

There will be increasing pressure on universities to develop their own unique approaches to employability and how they work with governments, businesses, and industry.

4. A Rise of Micro-Credentials:

Universities will offer modular courses and specialised programmes to facilitate targeted skill development. Some of our clients are providing initiatives like lifelong learning courses catering to career development, personal enjoyment, or entry into the workplace (critical thinking, decision making, emotional intelligence, etc).

5. Funding for Universities and Students:

The need for a restructuring of university funding is evident, with a significant annual loss incurred in teaching domestic students. Addressing living expenses is also crucial to student recruitment, necessitating efforts to align costs with inflation.

6. International Students and Government Policies:

Factors influencing international student enrollment, including a recent decline, are linked to evolving government policies. Particularly, the implications of a 66% increase in the NHS levy for international students, amounting to approximately £700 annually and the limits placed on the number of dependents could significantly influence these numbers.


These examples reveal that the university environment is changing. Universities need to stay informed and respond carefully to remain important and attractive to students. Hunterlodge’s role is now more than ever focusing on being a strategic partner to our clients, with macro thinking that solves macro problems.

For a new conversation in 2024 that focuses on the bigger issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me on: kim.mclellan@hunterlodge.co.uk

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