Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell yesterday (Thurs 2nd Feb) welcomed Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Edwin Booth to the Lancaster campus of the University of Cumbria. The visit reflects and further develops the relationship between the LEP and the university, and discussions took place over future opportunities for collaboration.
Mr Booth was accompanied by Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, Director of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub and Martin Kelly, Director of Economic Development at Lancashire County Council.
Professor Mennell said of the visit: "We have valued highly the support of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership throughout the first ten years of the university's existence, and welcome further opportunities for collaboration. Relationships such as these are vitally important for the university's ongoing development and we look forward to working closely with the Lancashire LEP as we enter our second decade, playing our role in the county's higher education provision and contributing to its continued economic success."
Mr Booth commented: "I was delighted to meet the new Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria, Professor Julie Mennell, and discuss the future strategic plans of the university and the synergy with the LEP’s priorities. This includes a shared focus on the health and social care sector.
“Demand for health and social care services in Lancashire is increasing all the time due to an ageing population and increasing life expectancy, with the result that demand is growing for the skills to support this sector. That is why the LEP has invested in the Lancaster Campus Teaching Hub, a world-class facility which will address this skills shortage, help to transform our health and social care workforce and improve the employability of many local young people.
“The LEP is investing more than £30m to create hundreds of new training places in modern centres like this across Lancashire, as part of our ambitious strategic programme to drive economic growth and create thousands of new jobs.”
The party toured the new teaching hub which is under construction and nearing completion. The new hub is part-funded by Lancashire LEP, and forms part of wider plans to consolidate the campus and provide highest quality teaching locations for students. The LEP has invested £2.5m towards the cost of the teaching hub, which forms part of wider plans to consolidate the campus and provide the highest quality teaching locations for students.
The new teaching hub is over three storeys, and comprises a 220 seat lecture theatre, and ten teaching classrooms, as well as social learning and breakout spaces for students. Work on the campus over the past 18 months has also seen the development of a new facility for drama, and a new pre-school centre adjacent to Bowerham Road.
The new teaching hub is expected to open at the start of the 2017 academic year.