With big plans to develop closer ties with industry in Cumbria and the wider north, Professor Andrew Gale’s arrival at the University of Cumbria could not come at a better time.
The university’s first director of industrial strategy, professional development and skills has a brief which includes a mission to recruit more students to study apprenticeships and expand the university’s interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM.) He's also aiming to increase Cumbria's international appeal which could lead to students from the county spending time studying abroad.
With millions of pounds in investment bringing thousands of new jobs to Cumbria, the university has a pivotal role to play in ensuring the feared skills gap doesn’t materialise.
“I’ve already worked closely with the university and was proud to help create opportunities such as the successful delivery of the new Project Academy for Sellafield worth over £13m,” Prof Gale said. “Over the last three years, working with many colleagues at UoC and industry in the region, I have made very good friendships and shared passion to support the education and development of young people and enhancing the professional development of practitioners. I see this opportunity as an exciting privilege, working with passionate people with a hugely important agenda.”
The role will see Professor Gale act as the strategic lead for the development of the university’s industrial strategy, particularly focusing on public and private sectors along with employers and stakeholders relevant to both Cumbria and Lancashire.
And he’s already covering miles to spread the name of Cumbria. This weekend he leaves for a flying visit to Singapore where he’ll be lecturing to masters students from industry at Nanyang Technological University. He has close ties with the country established over eight years and will also be meeting the British Council and British Chamber of Commerce, Singapore to talk about the University of Cumbria and his new role.
Singapore may well be key to developing closer economic ties with Cumbria in the future; the country is considering construction floating nuclear power stations and possible collaboration with the Cumbrian nuclear industry is high on the list of priorities for Professor Gale.
“Singapore is the model that a lot of other countries are copying and we need to build partnerships with industry and universities there,” Prof Gale said. “The imminent decision on World Heritage Status for Cumbria may well also play to the county’s advantage in the Far East; if the Lake District is granted the status membership of this ‘club’ it could well open up opportunities here and across the globe.”