Funding has been secured for a team to progress plans to create a University in Peterborough, thanks to the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP.
Peterborough is currently the largest conurbation in the UK without a university, something that a dedicated team from Anglia Ruskin University, Peterborough City Council, Peterborough Regional College and the LEP is keen to tackle.
The LEP has committed £120,000 to fund the creation of a project team who will develop a robust project plan for the creation of the new University, led by the Higher Education Stakeholder Group. The Board also committed a further £600,000 to support University Centre Peterborough obtaining Taught Degree Awarding Powers, the first step towards the direct delivery of degrees from the future University of Peterborough.
Mark Reeve, Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, said:
“Ensuring we have an appropriately skilled workforce to meet future business needs is one of our key priorities at the LEP. At the moment there is a higher education cold spot around Peterborough, which is holding back business growth. We believe that the University of Peterborough would be a game changing project for the city, and has the potential to unlock significant economic growth for the local area. This is why we have committed over £700,000 towards its development following a proposal made to our Board, and we look forward to seeing the work get underway.”
Councillor John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough Council and cabinet member for education, skills and university, said:
“We have made no secret of the fact that we want a fully-fledged university in Peterborough and how key this is to our growth plans, so this announcement from the LEP is fantastic news.
“Currently many of our young people have to leave Peterborough to achieve their chosen degree which is a great shame. We want our young people to have the option to keep learning here and for students outside of the area to study and settle in the city.
“Through speaking to our businesses we know that we need to upskill our workforce so that they have a wealth of talent to choose from. Key to achieving this is having a dedicated university with awarding powers.”
Terry Jones, Principal and CEO of Peterborough Regional College, commented:
“The university project will build on the outstanding success of University Centre Peterborough, which has grown student numbers year on year. Peterborough has the students, the expertise and the ambition to create a world-class independent university. Now, with financial support from the LEP and the commitment of a broad coalition of city leaders, we have the means to make it a reality.”
The next steps will be to formalise this decision through a funding agreement setting out timeframes, processes and outputs for the project.
The LEP was created to tackle barriers to economic growth, from infrastructure and skills to business support and housing. Plans to develop the University of Peterborough are not the first skills related activity that the LEP has supported in the City.
They currently fund The Skills Service, a scheme delivered by Opportunity Peterborough to provide a brokerage role between businesses, education and training providers to encourage effective partnership working, and they also secured funding for a new Food Manufacturing and Processing Centre at Peterborough Regional College to create a specialist food manufacturing education resource to train local people who wish to work in the industry.