June 2022

Warwick vice-chancellor welcomes students to “second academic home” at partnership celebration

By Melanie Hall

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Over 50 University College Birmingham students were guests of honour at an event to celebrate an exciting new partnership with the University of Warwick – designed to have far-reaching benefits for learners from all backgrounds and the wider economy.

The 57 students from a range of courses, from Culinary Arts Management to Aviation and Airport Management, represented the very first cohort of undergraduates and postgraduates who will have their degrees accredited and awarded by the University of Warwick when they graduate.

The new accreditation is part of a much wider partnership between the universities, developed over the last two years to provide more opportunities for young people and strengthen the post-pandemic economic recovery of the West Midlands.

"The opportunity to have a partnership with a university with the same energy, commitment and vision is really too good to be true"

Professor Stuart Croft Vice-chancellor, University of Warwick

In his opening welcome at the University’s Cryfield Farmhouse conferencing venue in the Warwickshire countryside, University of Warwick Vice-chancellor Professor Stuart Croft (pictured above) welcomed University College Birmingham students to their new “second academic home.”

“It’s taken two years to do all the background work to get to the position where we could make sure we had a really strong, tight relationship,” he said.

“This celebration is to not only welcome you as part of this new programme, but enable us to understand what more we can do to engage over the next few years. 

Dozens of staff and students from both universities were among those attending the event

“You represent that initial engagement between our universities, so are real pioneers. 

"The opportunity to have a partnership with a university with the same energy, commitment and vision is really too good to be true.”

Professor Michael Harkin, Vice-chancellor and Principal of University College Birmingham, said: “Only a few weeks ago, a number of my colleagues and I were fortunate to attend a wonderful evening of celebration here at Warwick to mark the amazing success of Coventry as the UK City of Culture. 

“What was most striking for me from that evening was the incredibly impressive partnership working within Coventry between the University of Warwick, Coventry University, Coventry City Council, the Councils, communities and citizens within Coventry and the County of Warwickshire.

“It made a lasting impression and left me in no doubt that we were now partnering with an amazing university and city, both of whom really understand the art of partnership working and how committed they are to it. 

University College Birmingham Vice-chancellor Professor Michael Harkin addresses the crowd

“Professor Croft and I didn’t just want an accreditation agreement on paper, we both wanted students to feel that they were a crucial part of something very special, being able to benefit from our respective strengths. 

“We wanted to have an important strategic influence within the West Midlands region, in particular, with Warwick strongly committed to being a very proud local, regional, national and international university. 

“Warwick has critical and hugely impressive access to top-rate employers who require those new skills and this will support our students in accessing these opportunities, more than we might be able to do ourselves alone as a smaller university.

“Our students here tonight are the trailblazers in what we are confident will be a long and successful partnership.”

Guests also included 23 staff members from across University College Birmingham, from lecturers to the senior management team, students and staff from the University of Warwick and 17 leading figures in the community.

University College Birmingham won University of the Year at this year's top UK student choice awards and has invested over £140 million into its facilities.

The University of Warwick, ranked 6th in the Guardian League Tables 2022, was hailed University of the Year for Teaching Quality in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.  

Both universities are committed to working together to make a lasting positive impact on our region, closing skills gaps and providing improved life chances for both young people and the longer-term unemployed, enabling pathways to high value jobs. 

Find out more about our partnership with the University of Warwick.

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