Business leaders got the chance to voice their thoughts to an education minister during a visit to Peterborough’s new university .
Michelle Donelan MP, the minister for higher and further education, was given a tour of the under-construction university at the Embankment and which is due to open to students in July.
The £30 million university has been created specifically to equip students with the skills needed by businesses and she was told that more than 170 businesses and organisations had been involved with the creation of the curriculum.
She met representatives from Cambridgeshire-based technology companies Thorlabs and ALS Global, and Peterborough-based Perkins Engines Company, a subsidiary of Caterpillar along with Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, and Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough.
Courses to be offered by ARU Peterborough will range from degrees in electronics and robotics and environmental management to a number of new degree and higher apprenticeships, which have been developed with local employers.
Ms Donelan said: “It was fantastic to visit the new campus at ARU Peterborough and I was especially impressed by the range of degree apprenticeships on offer that have been developed alongside local employers so that this area has the skills needed to boost productivity.
“Degree apprenticeships are a key part of our skills revolution and the number of degree apprenticeships have nearly doubled since 2018-19.
"We want to see that strong growth continue so I urge any students and employers interested in finding out more about degree apprenticeships to speak to ARU Peterborough about how you can build on your personal aspirations or business growth within this community.”
Construction of the ARU Peterborough began in December 2020 with work starting on a second phase – a manufacturing and research centre that will be anchored by triple Queen’s Awarding winning 3D printing experts Photocentric.
The university project has received more than £24.8 million of funding, including £12.3 million of capital investment from the Combined Authority, £12.5 million of Local Growth Funding and £1.6 million in land investment from Peterborough County Council.
Professor Watkins said: “ARU’s mission is to transform lives through education and research, and that is why we were determined to lead the development of the city’s new university.
"Thanks to tailor-made courses and wonderful teaching facilities, ARU Peterborough promises to provide life-changing opportunities for young people from Peterborough and the surrounding region.”
Professor Renton said: “From the very outset, we were determined that our portfolio of courses precisely matched the needs of our local economy.
"Not only was it a pleasure to show the Minister the fabulous new facilities that are taking shape on the ARU Peterborough campus, we were also able to discuss the range of employment-focused courses we are offering.
“Companies have been incredibly supportive of our vision, and we are delighted to be able to launch ARU Peterborough this summer with a number of degree and higher apprenticeship opportunities which allow local people to either enter or continue with their employment while gaining degree-level qualifications.”