Ahead of the Centre for the New Midlands Winter Reception (being held on Tuesday 6th December at the Palace of Westminster), we are delighted to share a guest feature from University College Birmingham and the University of Warwick on their recently launched partnership and shared vision to ‘upskill the region’.
Tuesday’s event in London is being sponsored by University College Birmingham, the University of Warwick and Secure Thingz and is the first event that the Centre for the New Midlands has hosted in the capital.
At the University of Warwick and University College Birmingham, we have a shared vision; to work together to improve the lives of people across the region by ensuring that every person, regardless of background or experience, has access to the very best educational opportunities and training the West Midlands has to offer.
It is a partnership founded on our joint belief that in order to support the next generation in achieving their potential, we need to provide better opportunities and work in conjunction with key partners to tackle the regional skills gap.
By their very nature, higher education institutions often work in collaboration with each other and local business, but our partnership goes further, working together for our people, partners and places. Together, we are committed to widening participation and access to education, creating skills pathways led by regional business needs, whilst playing our part in helping the regional economy to grow.
The West Midlands is home to many deprived communities that have not been afforded opportunities to thrive. As partners, we are supportive of the ambitions set out within the West Midlands Plan for Growth and are dedicated to delivering the support needed to achieve the goals set out for the region.
The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading universities, with an acknowledged reputation for excellence in research, teaching, innovation, and for it’s links with business and industry. University College Birmingham meanwhile has a pedigree for providing high-quality teaching and vocational qualifications, working with key industries to develop regional talent. By combining our expertise and shared experience, we can reach wider audiences and deliver the necessary support where and when it is needed, whether that is upskilling or retraining.
We’re exploring how we create the programmes that the region’s employers need to help bridge the skills gap, providing an education pathway for personal and professional development. The West Midlands is at the heart of emerging industries such as AI, data analysis, software, coding and cyber, and it’s important that we also provide opportunities to upskill the existing workforce.
We also recognise there is a requirement to improve the level of adult education when it comes to core skills such as Maths, English and Science, particularly for under-represented groups. This will help improve the career prospects and employability of those who did perhaps not thrive in a traditional educational setting, as well as ensuring that our region’s workforce continue to meet the needs of an everchanging employment landscape.
With an emphasis on developing talent and entrepreneurship, one of our first joint ventures is the Creative Futures Incubator, through which we’re supporting entrepreneurs, providing opportunities and assisting the next generation in launching their own businesses.
We’ve seen the impact of our partnership with young entrepreneurs taking the first steps in establishing new, specialist businesses, putting back into our regional economy and strengthening our position on a national stage.
Since emerging from the pandemic, in the West Midlands, job vacancies currently outstrip those seeking a new or change of job, partly due to the skills shortage facing the region’s core sectors; engineering, construction, health, hospitality and creative.
Our collaboration recognises the potential the West Midlands has as a key centre for growth and regeneration in the UK, and this is a vision we strongly share with the Centre for the New Midlands, and as such we are proud to be an educational partner of Reimagining the Region. We believe that by working in conjunction with each other to challenge the status quo and invoke real, quantifiable change, we can better support our common vision, increase our impact, and help to shape a brighter future for the region.