NTU reaffirms commitment to Further Education with £1 million to support Ashfield Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) last week announced its commitment of £1 million to enhance its research and innovation capability to support the Ashfield Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre which is to be funded through the Government’s Towns Fund programme.

NTU University Centre in Mansfield

NTU University Centre in Mansfield

This comes in addition to £5 million already committed by NTU over the next five years to develop its presence in Mansfield and Ashfield, mainly on the Vision West Nottinghamshire College (VWNC) campus.

The announcement by Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Peck was made at a virtual roundtable hosted by NTU on Wednesday morning with Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan MP and Cllr Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield and Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council. The meeting, attended by local council, business and education leaders, discussed how the University’s partnerships in the two towns will help deliver the Government’s new skills agenda and support ‘levelling up’ in Mansfield and Ashfield through expansion of both demand for and supply of higher technical and vocational education.

The meeting followed a virtual tour of NTU on Tuesday by Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan MP. Following a policy discussion with NTU’s Vice-Chancellor, the Minister also spoke to a selection of students studying at the university.

NTU will use feedback gathered from the Minister and local leaders to continue to expand its partnerships and its presence within Mansfield and Ashfield.

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of NTU, said: “NTU’s developments in Mansfield and Ashfield over the last two years bring together the values, expertise and experience of NTU in two towns where previously we had limited presence. Our programme of work has been discussed with and shaped by the voices of local authorities, businesses and third sector organisations. This is why I am delighted to announce our £1 million additional investment to support Ashfield Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre, a project which is crucial to the future prosperity of the area. Our recent roundtable was another step on that journey of engagement with our partners in defining the best way of NTU supporting the renaissance of Mansfield and Ashfield.”

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “We want to transform our post 16 education so that everyone has the opportunity to gain the skills they need for successful futures, which is why we recently announced £30 million to help support the expansion of Higher Technical Education.

“I welcome the work Nottingham Trent University has done in this area, and I strongly encourage universities to follow their lead, widening access to quality education in their area, and building partnerships with local colleges.”

Cllr Ben Bradley MP said: “NTU’s expanded presence in Mansfield and Ashfield is a welcome boost to the area as we look to revive the economy following the Covid-19 pandemic. NTU and Vision West Nottinghamshire College are rolling out a wide range of higher level technical courses that will equip people of all ages with the skills they need for the jobs of the future. As the MP for Mansfield, and as the Government’s ambassador on Further Education, I look forward to continuing to work closely with NTU and VWNC to help drive the economic prosperity of the region.”

Natalie Gasson-McKinley, Development Manager Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, Federation of Small Business, said: “Businesses in the region are eager to hire people with the skills they need to make their business a success. This is more important than ever following the disruption Covid-19 has brought upon the business and education sectors. NTU’s partnership with Vision West Nottinghamshire College provides a fantastic opportunity for young people, and those looking to retrain, to develop the skills they need to work for local businesses, which will enable them to stay in the region and help regenerate the economy.”

NTU’s partnership with VWNC delivers higher education from the College’s main campus in Mansfield, with the Mansfield Higher Education Hub opening in September 2020 to 165 students. NTU has developed a range of programmes – including full and foundation degrees, and continuing professional education – which aim to meet the needs of residents and employers in the Mansfield and Ashfield areas.