Purpose textendash The purpose of this paper is to introduce a case study that identifies the practical issues and implications of employer engagement through course design, delivery and employee commitment in a higher education course delivered in the financial services sector. Design/methodology/approach textendash Using a case study the paper draws on the course team (employer and university) experience of a higher education course delivered at a financial services institution over a two cohort period. Student application data and student feedback are used to identify the practical issues arising from course. Findings textendash The paper emphasises the importance of understanding the business of the employer, bespoke delivery models and employee commitment for increasing employer participation in higher skills in the work place, particularly for employers not traditionally engaging with universities for course delivery at undergraduate level. Originality/value textendash The paper explores issues for employers and universities for design, delivery and sustainability of higher skills in the work place.