Newbury College has been awarded £1.75m from the Local Growth Fund, towards the development of the University Centre Newbury (UCN). Additional funds for the £5.5m project will be drawn from the College and investment from supporting partners and will bring a state-of-the-art, digitally integrated, zero carbon, higher education facility to West Berkshire.
Research by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVBLEP) and consultation with local employers across the region, identified critical skill shortages of employees with high-level skills, particularly in Digital Technologies, Engineering, Business & Finance, Health, Social Care & Education and Construction.
The UCN is supported by foundation partnerships with local businesses including Vodafone, Roc Technologies, Xtrac and Sovereign Housing and aims to address the needs of local employers and ensure training is relevant and specific, not only for new employees, but also to increase the opportunities to upskill existing staff and help businesses utilise their Apprenticeship Levy payments more effectively.
Director of Business & Partnerships, Dr Jo Houghton said, We are delighted to have received the funding and support of the TVBLEP and excited that the Planning Application has been submitted. The University Centre Newbury brings a wealth of opportunity for businesses to meet their workforce requirements to engage and upskill in digital technologies, and provides a fantastic opportunity for students of all ages to achieve a higher level of training locally.
Newbury College has already formed strong relationships with local businesses in the engineering sector, including AWE and Xtrac, enhanced by the opening of the Engineering Solutions Lab in 2017 and the subsequent strength of the Degree programmes in Engineering, which is already expanding to Postgraduate level from September 2019, in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University.
The Careers not Courses campaign, recently launched by Newbury College, marks an open conversation between business and education and designs a curriculum that meets the skills demand of the local community, building and equipping a digital-first workforce with a logical progression from further education into higher education (HE).
UCN provides a solution for the community that sees an expansion of the current HE provision enabling opportunities for young talent to remain in the area and study university-level qualifications alongside their chosen career.
Built to new zero-carbon standards, UCN will be environmentally sustainable. The Centre incorporates digital technologies that enable students the option to study flexibly such as, real-time remote classroom access and blended learning options. Labs will be equipped with the hardware and software that facilitate the delivery of key digital technology including big data, software development, cyber security and cloud computing.
Key partners including, Buckinghamshire New University, QA Ltd, and The Open University, have been specifically chosen for their expertise to support the delivery of a centre of excellence for the development of higher skills.
West Berkshire Council, the Rt Hon Richard Benyon MP, Kennet School and Park House School have also provided strong support for University Centre Newbury.
The first intake for the University Centre Newbury will be September 2020. To find out more about higher-level study options, visit www.newbury-college.ac.uk