Plans for a ‘university park’ in Dudley have moved a step closer with the appointment of the University of Worcester to drive forward a multi-million pound development.
The University has been appointed to lead on plans to build a ‘university centre’ at Castle Hill as part of Dudley Council’s Towns Fund plan.
The development of the university centre, which will be located alongside the Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology and the very light rail innovation centre, is a key part of the Councils’ strategy to develop a higher education campus at Castle Hill.
The Council will submit a bid for £25million, towards the cost of the project, to the government’s Towns Fund in January 2021.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: "I’m delighted the University of Worcester will be working to develop our bid for to deliver a further university presence in Dudley. If our bid to the Towns Fund is successful, the money will allow us to protect and promote employment by expanding the skills opportunities for adults and young people.
"The economic shock of Covid-19 has made this investment more needed than ever as we look to provide opportunities in sectors with rising job vacancies, which need higher skilled workers."
The University of Worcester will deliver its outstanding programmes centred around health care and allied professions, including Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedic Science and related health occupations from the new Dudley site.
Worcester is the most shortlisted of all UK universities for the 2020 Student Nursing Times Awards, including a nomination for Pre-registration Nurse Education Provider of the Year, for which Worcester is shortlisted for the 6th time, the most of any university ever.
Professor David Green CBE, the University of Worcester’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted to have been chosen to partner with Dudley College, Council and Towns Fund Board to develop a thriving University Centre in Dudley. With our health partners, we look forward to offering many, many first class opportunities in Dudley to gain a top quality health professional qualification in nursing, midwifery, paramedicine and more.
"We will also be working with our partners in education, business and sport in particular to create opportunities at the University Centre to earn qualifications in these vital sectors in which skilled, professionals are badly needed.
"The Towns Fund Board decision to invest in a Higher Education Centre is Dudley is wise and far-sighted. At the University of Worcester we will do all we can to help turn this brilliant decision into a thriving, dynamic, truly valuable success for the people of Dudley, the wider Black Country and beyond."
The University of Worcester is held in high regard nationally, and earlier this month was shortlisted for University of the Year for the second year running in the prestigious Times Higher Awards. Ranked in the top 10 of universities across the UK to best reflect society in terms of socio-economic class, the University is also a finalist for the UK University of the Year for the second year running in the annual Social Mobility Awards.
Worcester is currently the UK’s Sustainability Institution of the Year and was globally commended for its work at the United Nations this June.
Andrew Lovett, Chair of Dudley Towns Fund Board, which oversaw the appointment on behalf of the council, said: "On behalf of the board I now welcome the opportunity to move this proposal forward at pace. The University of Worcester is established as a sector leader but more importantly is already a long-standing contributor to the skilled workforce in Dudley and the wider West Midlands, working with Health Trusts across the region.
"Their commitment to the town and the shared vision of the university centre as a place of excellence, that contributes to the well-being of individuals and the broader community shone through in their submission to be the chosen Higher education institution. Collectively we can now work to make the development of a university for Dudley a reality."