Rising to the challenge of Tees skills agenda

Teesside University and the local higher education colleges are creating programmes to achieve business goals and create jobs for the Tees region.

That was the message from Professor Paul Croney, the university’s vice-chancellor, at the launch of a new strategic partnership which will provide even wider access to higher education courses in the Tees Valley.

The Teesside University College Partnership (TUCP) brings together the University and Darlington, Hartlepool, Redcar and Stockton Riverside Colleges to offer students a broad range of higher education opportunities.

Courses will be delivered either at the local colleges or on campus at Teesside University with the aim of bringing together the teaching excellence in all the institutions to provide stimulating and challenging programmes which meet the needs of the business community and deliver work-ready graduates to power the local, national and global economy.

Professor Coney, who is also chief executive of Teesside University, told Tees Business: “What we’re doing is looking at how the partnership can be developed to be ready to challenge the issues that are coming at us from industry.

New partnership to boost higher education opportunities

“It’s essential that our partnership reflects the current economic and social challenges of today.

“The university and the colleges have been looking at our curriculum and our research, and asking ourselves ‘How can we develop programmes and learning opportunities, and provide the best possible opportunities for our learners?’

“The partnership between the university and colleges matters to local business because this university is committed to enterprise and business, as are the colleges.

“I think as we’ve demonstrated in the partnership renewal that we’re committed to doing the things the Industrial Strategy requires.

“We’re looking at high end degree apprenticeships, higher skills and ways in which we can work with businesses and create solutions to their skills needs.”

He added: “The colleges and the university have embraced and listened to businesses so we can create programmes that will provide the workforce with the necessary skills and abilities that will help the businesses achieve their goals.

“We understand business – and we aim to work closely with businesses to ensure the offer is in tune with their needs.”

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen told Tees Business: “This partnership is about setting out the skills agenda, to make sure local people will be skilled and ready for the 25,000 Tees Valley jobs we’ve got a target of creating by 2025.

“It’s really exciting to see the colleges and the university coming together, with one voice, and saying ‘This is what needs to be done for the region.’

“We have a strategic economic plan, and we know the seven major sectors that are going to create the 25,000 jobs over the next seven years and we know where they’re going to come from.

“The local colleges and the university have bought into that. They’re going to gear themselves so the students are able to get on courses that deliver an outcome that means businesses are able to fill those jobs.”

Teesside University has worked successfully with the local further education colleges for over 20 years, but the new TUCP has been designed to support transformational activities aligned clearly to the aspirational industrial strategy of the Tees Valley.

The TUCP will deliver everything from Foundation degrees, apprenticeships and Master’s degrees in a diverse range of subject areas including engineering and manufacturing, computer science, digital media, biosciences, health and social care and tourism.

Kate Roe, principal at Darlington College, said: “We are passionate about the power of further and higher education to transform opportunities in life and provide our employers with highly skilled individuals to enhance their workforce.

“High quality, local and flexible higher level courses are really important for ongoing skills and career development, especially for adults and those who want or need to study part-time, and this works well for employers and businesses too. We are fortunate in Tees Valley to have a shared vision with Teesside University and proud to be part of a partnership that continues to go from strength to strength.”


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