Is education failing business?

Leading figures from the worlds of business, media and academia will be battling it out in a war of words when they take part in Deloitte’s ‘Great Debate’.

The two teams, one arguing for and one arguing against, will lock verbal horns on the subject of whether education has failed business.

The inaugural event has been organised by Deloitte and will be held in the debating chamber of the Cambridge Union Society, on 22 September 2010. Founded in 1815, it is the oldest and most prestigious student debating society in the world.

Over the years the chamber has played host to great figures of national and international importance, including British Prime Ministers, US Presidents, renowned authors, actors, singers and sports people.

Arguing for the motion that education has failed business is former CBI director general and Minister of State for Trade and Investment (2007-08) Lord Digby Jones of Birmingham; award-winning journalist and author Allison Pearson; political columnist and associate editor of the Daily Telegraph Simon Heffer; and Dr Ewan Kirk, ex-Goldman Sachs and CEO and founder of Cantab Capital Partners.

On the opposing side is Lord Eatwell, president of Queen’s College, Cambridge, and professor of Financial Policy at the University of Cambridge; serial entrepreneur Alex van Someren; David Cleevely, co-founder and chairman of spectrum monitoring company CRFS; and Nigel Whitehead, group managing director of programmes and support at BAE Systems.

The debate will be chaired by James Counsell. President of the Cambridge Union Society.

Andy Swarbrick, partner at Deloitte in Cambridge, said: “Education and business are inextricably linked but recently the relationship between the two has become strained as the debate rumbles on as to whether those entering the world of work from school, college or university have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to do the job.”

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