A senior staff member at the Preston-based University of Central Lancashire has called for closer links with the local community.Advertisement
Pro vice-chancellor for engagement, Margaret Bruce, has posted for The Guardian’s Higher Education network saying UCLan wants to work with local businesses more.
In her blog post she explains how she regularly meets with local big employers to see how the university can do better, as well as meeting with local politicians.
She also commits the university to doing more to help local entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs and trumpets the success of Dragon’s Den winner Kirsty Henshaw who now has business space in the Media Factory at the university.
Business engagement isn’t always about big headline partnerships – although they are not to be scorned. Last month, a report from IPPR North, Beyond Bricks and Mortar: universities’ role in building regional economies, discussed how universities can help drive local economies. The report offered some interesting insights into how universities can support local business and we will be looking to build on some of its recommendations.
We are fortunate in that we are so closely intertwined with the local community. Other universities perhaps aren’t so embedded in their local environment, but my advice to them is to reach out to local business to contribute to innovation and enrich the economy, as well as strengthen the opportunities to retain graduates in the region.
You can read the full post on The Guardian and we’d be interested to know in the comments whether you think the university is doing enough to support local businesses?
Image credit to Tony Worrall