education partnersAnnual Report 2007
Our business links and education partners
The University of Wolverhampton has an impressive track record as one of the best UK institutions for the education and training we provide for organisations, as well as being in the top 10 for delivering economic development and regeneration programmes with companies. Our links with industry are strong, and together we’re working on major initiatives to benefit the West Midlands region.
The University is the top provider of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) in the West Midlands. The scheme allows organisations to tap into our groundbreaking research, the latest thinking in management and organisational practice, and the knowledge of a high quality graduate. The scheme has been enormously successful in helping organisations meet their strategic objectives, and recent results speak for themselves:
- An average increase in sales of 46%
- An average increase in profitability of 42%
- An average increase in international sales of 31%.
The University of Wolverhampton secured two prestigious Lord Stafford Awards in November 2007, in recognition of its innovative work with businesses.
Robert Harris, Principal Lecturer Corporate Programmes, University of Wolverhampton Business School, won the ‘West Midlands Knowledge Transfer Champion Award’ for his contribution to knowledge transfer activities. To date, he has developed 18 KTPs for the University of Wolverhampton Business School.
Rachel Westwood was awarded the ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit Award’ for her innovative brand of male skincare products ‘Manceuticals’. Rachel’s company, Skin Scientists Ltd, is based at Wolverhampton Science Park.
The University of Wolverhampton is leading the national Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education (SPEED) project, involving 13 UK universities, to help students create their own businesses whilst they are studying. The £5m project to help students become the entrepreneurs of the future was officially launched at Leicester’s National Space Centre on February 2007.
Up to 750 students received funding to enable them to set up their own businesses during their industrial placement year, under the government-backed initiative. Businesses created out of the scheme so far include media production company Simile Media Solutions, instrument and studio business First Choice Musical Solutions, student starter kit suppliers Uni-fied, motorbike memorabilia company Memorabilia Moto, mosaic designers and software innovators Feed Off Creativity, and direct marketing company Parsprototo.co.uk.
A landmark event
In October 2007, the University of Wolverhampton cemented its commitment to business and the economic growth of the region with the official opening of the £7m e-Innovation Centre on its Telford Campus. The Centre delivers state-of-the-art office accommodation and business support for new and established companies within the Telford and wider West Midlands region.
During his time as Chief Executive of Advantage West Midlands, John Edwards performed the official opening of the Centre, which was funded by Advantage West Midlands, European Regional Development Fund and the University of Wolverhampton.
The building, at the University’s Telford Campus, is now home to more than 40 companies. The e-IC team has also assisted 70 companies with IT, business and marketing consultancy, and helped nurture 29 new businesses and create 43 new jobs.
Back to school
We take an active interest in enhancing the entire educational journey for students, not just their time in higher education. A strong track record of engagement with schools and colleges locally and nationally has led to initiatives which raise student aspirations and shape educational policy.
During 2007, the University’s School and College Liaison team were involved with over 225 schools (primary and secondary) and colleges, principally within the Black Country and surrounding areas.
Approximately 824 separate events were organised, which included visits by members of the team to schools and colleges, or opportunities for pupils to visit our University. Activities included presentations and workshops on finance, applying to university, student life and subject workshops.
In total, we estimate that the team were able to share the University of Wolverhampton experience with around 21,000 pupils.
Lifelong Learning Networks
Our University is a partner in well established Lifelong Learning Networks, which are encouraging students with vocational experience to explore the different progression routes into HE via vocational courses.
Our active collaboration with other education institutions, educational providers and policy makers, together with Aimhigher, ensures that a greater range of people are enjoying the benefits of higher education.
The University of Wolverhampton is currently involved in Steering Groups at a strategic level for two Lifelong Learning Networks (LLNs). The University is the lead partner for Construction within the Birmingham, Black Country and Solihull LLN, and has supported the production of the Business Plan for Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin LLN.
In October 2007, the Government appointed Professor Sir Geoff Hampton as Chief Adviser of the new Black Country Challenge, around a £28m campaign to raise standards in schools across the most deprived areas of the West Midlands.
Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton and Director of the Midlands Leadership Centre, Sir Geoff will lead the government-funded three year initiative to dramatically improve the attainment and aspirations of pupils in schools in the four areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Minister for Schools Jim Knight, who is heading the Black Country Challenge, expressed his delight at having the support of the University of Wolverhampton, and the valued input of Sir Geoff.
UK’s first Education Trust launched
The University has been instrumental in pioneering a project to transform educational opportunities in the Halesowen area. The official launch of The Halesowen Education Trust, which is the first of its kind in the UK, took place in December 2007.
With the support of the University, Dudley Local Authority and business partners, the area’s secondary schools, The Earls High, Windsor and Leasowes, have created a Trust federation with Halesowen College. The Trust will deliver enhanced opportunities for student progression, with the University encouraging them to aspire to higher education.