July 2017

Innovative new education partnership is 'Made in Birmingham'

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A ground-breaking new partnership between the University of Birmingham and University College Birmingham is set to offer young people across the West Midlands and beyond innovative new routes into a university education.

The two Birmingham universities have signed an agreement that harnesses the strengths of each institution. The collaboration celebrates and builds on a 22-year relationship that has seen the University of Birmingham accredit and award 20,000 University College Birmingham degrees. 

The partnership creates a new model for how the Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) sectors can work together to improve outcomes for young people through a range of joint activities, including: 

  • Degree apprenticeships – focusing initially on nursing
  • Further enhancing student opportunities to access HE
  • Academic teaching staff training and development
  • Creating a better Birmingham student experience by sharing facilities
  • Helping international students to access education opportunities in Birmingham 

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood said: “Our first Chancellor was Joseph Chamberlain and his vision for the University of Birmingham as a civic university still guides us today. Both our universities are committed to education in this city and we have created this signature initiative to provide new opportunities and inspire our young people to fulfil their potential. 

“This alliance represents a new model for collaboration, harnessing the distinctive and collective strengths of our two universities, whilst further strengthening educational excellence in Birmingham and the region; allowing us to export our education expertise to the world. Our alumni are recognised as leaders in their fields – from leading food industry professionals and key educators to Nobel Prize winners.” 

University College Birmingham Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Ray Linforth said: “Both our universities work together as anchor institutions for Birmingham. We play a key role in supporting the city’s long-term economic success by developing a diverse, highly skilled workforce and attracting talent into the wider region. 

“University College Birmingham is delighted to establish this pioneering partnership, which is truly ‘Made in Birmingham’. It sees both our universities developing innovative education and training pathways that give industry what it needs, whilst offering a compelling new model for the FE and HE sectors.” 

The partnership builds on the universities’ track record in pioneering educational delivery. 

The University of Birmingham School opened in September 2015, embodying a framework of character education developed by the University’s Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, a pioneering interdisciplinary research centre. The University’s Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme helps students from West Midlands families and communities with little or no experience of HE to find out about what studying at university involves. 

University College Birmingham (UCB) is an ethnically diverse institution with an outstanding record on access and widening participation in higher education. Almost 98% of its full-time, first degree students are from state schools and nearly 14% of the same group are from so-called low participation neighbourhoods. 

UCB was awarded full university status in 2012 as part of moves to diversify the sector and improve student choice. It is launching the next phase of its £100 million investment in student facilities with a £38 million site, Moss House, in the city’s Jewellery Quarter.

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