The next few years promise to be an exciting time for higher education in Peterborough.
The work that we are all doing now to create a dedicated university will, I believe, transform our city for the next 100 years and beyond.
It will change the aspirations of our residents, giving everyone the chance to attain the highest skills they are able to, in order to apply for the jobs offered by our employers.
The research that we are doing now means that we can be sure of this – and this approach is what will set our university apart from every other across the country.
Almost 80 businesses recently responded to a survey undertaken by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority asking what kinds of courses and skills they would like to see delivered at the new University of Peterborough.
Employers said that skills in mechanical and structural engineering, mathematics, science and certain health and social care skills were in demand now and would be in the future. The most popular areas were business, IT and digital and sustainability skills, with newer and rapidly progressing technology such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity likely to be in significant demand in the future.
Of course, it’s not just what is taught, but how it’s taught, and employers told us that work-based learning through higher apprenticeships would provide the most benefit.
Our employers have told us quite clearly what skills they need and the industries likely to prosper in future years, which will ensure that the curriculum delivered will both help students into well-paid, secure jobs, while also addressing the current and future skills needs of the local economy.
In further good news, a project management team has been appointed to get us from where we are now to the first students walking through the doors of the new university in 2022.
The team from Mace will lead on the delivery of the university, including planning permission for the building, the actual build project and the creation of the curriculum.
They have a good track record in this industry, delivering projects like the University of Northampton, and their expertise and experience will be invaluable.
The university we are creating for Peterborough will break the mould for what higher education can deliver. It will make other cities think differently and consider how its educational offering is connected to the local economy.
These are exciting times for higher education in Peterborough, and will lead to greater aspirations for our residents, as well as enabling us to keep hold of our talented people, by making our city more attractive for them to live, study and work. (more…)