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University’s role in regional growth and regeneration recognised in national framework

University of Gloucestershire’s role in supporting regional growth and regeneration has been recognised in the latest release of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

The University achieved a rating of high engagement for its support for student and graduate start-ups, its provision of quality training for regional businesses, its success in securing income linked to regional regeneration and its public and community engagement.

The KEF also recognised the University’s continuing strong performance in providing consultancy and facilities for Small and Medium Enterprises through its Growth Hub. The University is at the top of its cluster for this measure.

The Framework, which is published by Research England, reflects how well UK universities build community engagement and promote growth in their local areas.

For the purposes of the KEF, institutions are arranged into clusters. As a mid-sized university with more of a teaching focus, University of Gloucestershire is in cluster J, which also includes Birmingham City University, Leeds Beckett and the University of Chester.

University of Gloucestershire is the top performing institution in its cluster for securing public funding for research, with a high engagement score for local growth and regeneration. Its plans to transform the former Debenhams building into a City Campus were the cornerstone of Gloucester’s successful Levelling Up Fund bid to the Government.

The £9.7million awarded for the City Campus project recognised that many of the university’s courses are crucial to the health, quality of life and economic success of our region, including Nursing and Education. City Campus will provide facilities to train these professionals and significantly increase city centre footfall as it becomes a home to 4000 students and 350 staff.

The University has also significantly improved its performance for its success in supporting students and graduates to start up and grow their own businesses. Its innovative Start and Grow Enterprise (SAGE) programme helped Accountancy graduate, Hannah Galliers (pictured), to drive growth for her business, The Mindfulness Coach, thanks to bespoke training in sales.

The increasing income the University generates from delivering Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has been largely driven by its growth in apprenticeships, rising from 40 in 2016 to more than 900 apprentices this year.

The high engagement score reflects the fact that the University is by far the largest provider of higher and degree apprenticeships in Gloucestershire and one of the largest providers in the South West.

Dr Polly Pick, Director of Business Engagement and Partnership at University of Gloucestershire, said: “We are proud of our track-record of working with business and employers. Our Gloucestershire Business School co-locates university academics, the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, our Growth Hub and our SAGE team to create a fully-integrated setting for business-related Knowledge Exchange.

“We work with more than 10,000 businesses of all sizes, offering high quality and relevant professional development, including apprenticeships, as well as providing access and support to our student and graduate talent, and our academic expertise.

“It is rewarding to see these successes highlighted in the KEF, along with the vital role the University is playing in attracting investment into the region. The City Campus project, in particular, will act as an exemplar in the regeneration of our High Streets as we work with partners to deliver an exciting future for Gloucester.”