Recently in Beverley Nielsen Category
Like most people I don't feel comfortable about expecting young people to take out loans to cover their higher education costs.
The blow has been a little softened through the rise in the salary threshold triggering payback, moving from £15k per annum to £21k in the new system.
Graduate employment is higher than non-graduate employment, at 85.5% compared to 73.3%, over the last six years.
There's a slew of surveys showing that graduates earn more over their working lives than non-graduates. The last one I saw showed people with degrees earned an average of £12k a year more than non-graduates over the past decade.
As Lord Digby Jones said last Friday at the 'Made in the Midlands' Awards hosted at Birmingham City University's Faculty for Technology, Engineering and the Environment at Millennium Point, 'the economic debate has so far been all about cutting spending; no one is talking about earning.'
And of course with GDP figures out later this week our economic growth challenge will remain front of mind.
'Let the Chinese do the commodity stuff,' he exhorted. 'We need to focus on value added, innovative, quality and branded goods and services. We want the Indians and the Chinese to get rich so they can buy Brand Britain.
Over 20 years Mike Brown, Professor of Corporate Reputation and Strategy at Birmingham City Business School, has been surveying senior business executives to assess how much they esteem their peers.
His survey, 'Britain's Most Admired Companies', is an assessment of executives' perceptions of 'corporate reputation'.
Speaking recently at the Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO Mike Brown commented on how reputation is now one of the key intangibles which our business executives are managing to a greater extent than ever.
In most instances, he noted, around 75% of companies value is being derived from intangibles.
Philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, described by Updike as 'so perfect a crank and hermit saint', is renowned for having said, 'I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.'
Even in the simplest places chairs are ubiquitous. And well-designed chairs can change our everyday experience of life for the better.
Thanks to designers such as Prof Richard Snell at the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, the Midlands continues to play a noteworthy role in chair design.
Transport planner, Phil Jones, has his attention fixed firmly on the quality of the spaces between the housing we develop.
"What is the difference between a street and a road?' Phil asked. 'Would you dance in the road, or dance in the street?"
How to achieve 'excellent ordinary housing' was the challenge facing Cities and communities according to Glenn Howells, one of Birmingham's most renowned architects, at the Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO last week.
"How we create an environment where people can live together and have their own space whilst also being part of a wider community poses a particular set of challenges," said Glenn.
How often do you hear the words 'Birmingham' and 'beauty' uttered in the same breath?
Or for that matter the words 'Birmingham' and 'great design'?
It simply doesn't happen often enough.
Yet according to Ipsos MORI 80% of people look for beauty in their built environment, with 40% actively expecting their local Council to provide this.
Just over a week ago several thousand people visiting the Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO, hosted at the Mailbox and run by Birmingham City University, were reassessing Birmingham's contribution to design very favourably after enjoying exhibits, workshops and awards involving the very best in industrial design and creative arts from across the region.
My overriding take from the hour during which Professor Reed shared her thoughts gathered from over 20 years in professional practice as an architect and her extensive global experience was the importance of 'beauty'.... So elusive, hard to pin down, instinctively recognisable and easy to dismiss, it was an essential element in delivering quality of life and 'well-being'.
Teasing out the values contributing to well-being Ruth Reed suggested that 'comfort', 'contentment', 'protection', 'good health', 'vitality', 'security' and 'joy' were key values and ones which had been a concern from Aristotle onwards.
Big names in the UK motor industry representing Jaguar, Triumph and Dunlop are coming to the Birmingham Made Me Design Expo 2012 at lunchtime, 12.30pm,on Wednesday 20th June to give their vision for an industry which once more dominates and inspires the Midlands.
And they are not alone. Ian Callum, RDI, Director of Design, Jaguar, will be presenting Jaguar's Award-winning concept car, the C-X75. The ground-breaking hybrid super car - of which there will be just 200, is currently being developed in the Midlands.
And today..... Abraham Darby, the founder of AGA Rangemaster, whose 1707 cooking patent fired the Industrial Revolution, provides his perspective and shows off the new Smartphone controlled AGA. Abraham Darby the 18th century innovator whose cast iron cooking pots started the Industrial Revolution shows off the new iPhone controlled iTotal Control AGA (3.30-4.30pm).
Chair designer, Prof Richard Snell, outlines changing views on the essentials of chair design over the past eight decades (5.30-7.30pm) and immediate past President, RIBA, Prof Ruth Reed, considers Urban Futures and quality of life (12.30-2.30pm) -- all in the Birmingham Made Me Entrepreneurs Store, Level 3 the Mailbox.
Birmingham Made Me brings together 150 companies and designers - in a collaboration led by Jaguar LandRover, JCB and AGA Rangemaster with Birmingham City University and Birmingham City Council.
To vote for the Midlands Best Brand or Innovation visit Idea Birmingham
To find out more about Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO fringe event programme visit Birmingham Made Me
If you are feeling at a loss for something to do this weekend, then I'd like to suggest you take yourself to the Mailbox in Birmingham where the inaugural Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO is in progress. There are a host of Midlands stars on view - starting with the Jaguar C-X75 hybrid concept car, a stunning piece of engineering made from a Midlands-based supply chain. Beautiful to look at this is a delight that will surely cheer up any dreary weekend!
I have just left the Birmingham Made Me Entrepreneurs Store where attractive young girls sporting sequined shorts were singing some much loved Standards whilst the Cava flowed - courtesy of Harvey Nichols....This new wave of design talent was certainly making me and quite a few others feel more upbeat...