New formal partnership builds opportunities for students

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the University of Wolverhampton, City & Guilds and local contractor Thomas Vale, part of the international construction company, Bouygues.

The partnership – the first of its kind in the country – will consolidate the existing informal collaborative working relationship between the organisations.  Its aim is to promote and endorse opportunities in relation to the University’s £100 million investment in the redevelopment of the Springfield brewery site as well as promoting regional employment and engagement in the construction industry.

As a direct result of the partnership, students studying in the School of Architecture and Built Environment will benefit from curriculum developments, mentoring, industrial placements and ‘live’ projects, work experience opportunities, volunteering activities, expert lectures, careers advice and higher apprenticeships.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Our work with employers and vocational awarding bodies is focused on closing skills gaps which is why these kinds of partnerships are crucial.

“It’s extremely important that we focus on providing a curriculum that reflects the employment and skills needs of the region. With 80% of our students coming from our local area, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we work with partners to create jobs and provide a skilled workforce.

“The Springfield Campus project is at the heart of the £250 million ‘Our Vision, Your Opportunity’ investment.  Our aim through the redevelopment of this brownfield site is for the new centre to act as a catalyst for the wider economic and social regeneration of Wolverhampton creating a skills pathway for construction education and training from the age of 14 through to senior professionals.”

Alan Howard, Head of Business Partnerships at City & Guilds, said:  “This is the first University partnership of its kind and is a significant step towards inspiring young people and building on their technical skills for the construction and engineering industries.

“At City & Guilds we believe in the importance of creating progression routes for learners to ensure that the workforce is equipped with skills to drive economic growth. We are delighted to be working with the University to develop higher level skills in these vital sectors.”

Martyn Chaplin, Commercial Director at Thomas Vale, said:  “This is the start of a journey where we have collectively committed to develop proposals to combat skills gaps in the region.

“Thomas Vale has had a long standing relationship with the University, predominantly in terms of management training and offering apprenticeships through the supply chain.  There are a lot of opportunities available in the industry and this model, which offers an ideal balance of academic learning and practical skills, is one that can be replicated throughout the rest of the UK.”

The Memorandums of Understanding with each of the organisations was signed in the Mayor’s Parlour at the City of Wolverhampton Civic Centre.

Thomas Vale is a Midlands-based contractor. Its parent company, Bouygues UK, has offices and sites across the UK and draws on the heritage and support of the Bouygues Group, which operates in over 80 countries spanning construction, civil works, energy, services, telecommunications and media.

City & Guilds is the leading skills development organisation, providing services to training providers, employers, and trainees across a variety of sectors to meet the needs of the workplace. Its qualifications are valued by employers across the world, helping individuals develop their talents and abilities for career progression.

Picture caption from left to right: Martyn Chaplin, Commercial Director at Thomas Vale Construction, Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton and Alan Howard, Head of Business Partnerships at City & Guilds.

ENDS

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: 12th October 2016

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