Yorkshire Universities (YU) are very much on the front foot, working collaboratively with important local stakeholders, well in advance of the expected consultation on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The new strategic approach of YU is certainly helping members and their partners to prepare for important decisions ahead. Delivered in association with the Local Academy, those attending a recent workshop challenged each other to identify the five biggest challenges ahead;
Remaking British towns after Brexit: key actions for policy makers and planners, published by the Carnegie UK Trust is a timely contribution to discussions surrounding the opportunities and challenges facing the UK post-Brexit.
Last week I was on the Gold Coast, in Australia, where I was speaking, as a guest of the Australian Regional Universities Network (RUN), at a conference hosted by Southern Cross University to discuss the role of universities in transforming local and regional economies.
“The advent of the local industrial strategy is placing a renewed focus on ‘place’, encouraging universities and the NHS to work collaboratively to help stimulate sustainable forms of growth and public service transformation. Dr Peter O’Brien, executive director of Yorkshire Universities, explains why this partnership presents a golden opportunity.
On Tuesday, most children, including my two daughters, went back to school following the summer holidays. The same day, I was at Westminster, where a new term had started for parliamentarians about to embark upon one of the most crucial periods in the UK’s recent history, as the county leaves the European Union at the end of March 2019.
I was in London to attend a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, which had been called to discuss the balance of public investment made by central government in Yorkshire, compared to the rest of the country, and in particular London, and whether Yorkshire receives a ‘fair deal’ from the Treasury.
Recently, YU held a roundtable in Leeds with Universities UK (UUK), which brought together universities, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), combined authorities, government and national research funding agencies. The purpose was to share information about the development of local industrial strategies in Yorkshire, to illustrate the specific role of the twelve universities in Yorkshire in industrial policy and strategy, and to identify areas of shared interest. UUK had organised eight similar-type events with universities across England, but the session in Leeds was the only one held jointly with a ‘place-based’ collaborative university organisation.
Yorkshire Universities is something of a unique construct. Formed in 1987, this place-based university collaborative venture has endured despite the periodic upheaval in sub-national economic development governance and planning in England.
At the recent Northern Powerhouse Business Summit, part of the Great Exhibition of the North, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry, launched a new pan-regional governance entity – NP11 – a grouping of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the north of England, which will be headed initially by the Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP.
For those not fully-aware of the timeliness of the industrial policy and strategy debate, we are on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution which will result in some of the most fundamental changes to economy and society. Why is this important? Because it will alter how we live, work, and how we relate to each other. Some of us still remember life without the internet and smart phones, right? That is the scale of transformation taking place, but with much more complex and long-term implications.
Last week’s publication of a new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Smart Cities illustrates perfectly the importance of defining smart technology in urban metropolitan settings as a multi and inter-disciplinary venture requiring co-investment and co-ordination between science, technology, governance and civic engagement. Here, universities are uniquely-equipped to make major contributions within and across these areas.
Degree apprenticeships are an innovative means of widening access to learning, achieving higher-level and more work-relevant skills, and are therefore a crucial element in the drive to increase productivity. Degree apprenticeships also boost social mobility and underpin efforts to promote inclusion by enabling students to ‘earn while they learn’. They offer higher life-time earnings than most degrees, and can help narrow the employment gap between more affluent and less-advantaged graduates. They generate positive spill-overs for other degree courses and they are a vital mechanism for boosting parity of esteem between vocational and academic study. In summary, they are an excellent idea, and they are emerging at just the right time.