Mander Centre and University of Wolverhampton announce major partnership

Wolverhampton’s Mander Centre and the University of Wolverhampton have committed to a long-term partnership to create learning opportunities for the city’s students during the shopping centre’s £35 million refurbishment.

Under the new agreement, students studying construction, art, design and fashion courses will be able to gain practical experience to complement their studies - helping them to improve their knowledge, skills and employability:

  • Students studying construction-based degrees can access ‘real-world’ experience with the design and contracting teams appointed by Mander Centre owner, Benson Elliot, to refurbish and upgrade the Centre.
  • The University’s renowned School of Art will assist the Centre’s management team in launching a number of arts-based initiatives including linking the city’s heritage to the history of the Centre.
  • While fashion students will have the opportunity to learn more about consumer marketing and retail management as well as using the space for fashion shows.

The collaboration with the Mander Centre forms part of the University’s ongoing investment and engagement with the wider businesses in the region. It was announced earlier this year that the University is planning to generate £250 million of investment over the next five years.

Commenting on the new partnership, Peter Cornforth, Director of Retail at Benson Elliot, said: “The partnership with the University of Wolverhampton provides a major opportunity to collaborate with one of the most vibrant and dynamic education institutions in the West Midlands.

“We’re delighted to offer their students valuable hands-on experience through this exciting project, allowing more people to benefit from the refurbishment of the Mander Centre and its repositioning as the retail heart of the city.

“For anyone wanting to pursue a career in construction, there will be great opportunities to learn from our team delivering the refurbishment. While fashion and art students will have scope to use the Centre for fashion shows or the opportunity to practise their consumer marketing skills. Like the University, we feel that nurturing this young talent is crucial to ensuring that well qualified and motivated students remain in the city after they graduate.

“Partnerships between employers and education providers are exactly the sort of initiative that will build the City’s future prosperity, as highlighted by Professor Tony Travers during Wolverhampton Business Week.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Geoff Layer, said:  “We are delighted to have agreed this partnership with the Mander Centre and look forward to working with them closely in the future.

“It is great to see plans to transform the Mander Centre being realised alongside our own investment in the city centre such as the new Rosalind Franklin Building in Stafford Street, the new business school building in Molineux Street and the redevelopment of the Springfield Brewery site. It certainly makes for positive news for Wolverhampton.

“It is vital to have a vibrant and welcoming city centre. It attracts visitors, businesses and of course, students with the knock on effect of contributing to the local economy.

“Equally important, from the University’s perspective, is the fantastic opportunity this agreement provides for our students to gain valuable insight through placements and work experience to help provide them with the type of skills industry demands.

“Ultimately this all goes to support our drive and vision to aid economic regeneration and growth in the region through both investment and skills provision.”

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “The partnership between the Mander Centre and the University of Wolverhampton is yet another example of the collaborative approach we encourage as a council to boost regeneration in Wolverhampton.

“The Mander Centre refurbishment will have a major impact on the city centre and it is an exciting project for the University of Wolverhampton students to be involved in.

“It is important we marry investment in Wolverhampton with improving skills in the emerging workforce – and this project fits the bill.”

ENDS

For more information please contact James Allen in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003.

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