Business backs University College announcement

Apr 24, 2012


Milton Keynes Council and the University of Bedfordshire are working together to create the University College Milton Keynes, which will open in September.
It aims to offer honours degrees, Master’s degrees and Doctorates in subjects at the heart of the Milton Keynes knowledge economy.
At its heart will be a new Faculty of Engineering and Technology, expected to launch in September 2013. This will offer a variety of professionally-recognised degree programmes and will also be the home of important research initiatives, such as the Smart Cities Institute and the Centre for Telehealth.
The University College will also offer a growing array of courses relevant to business, education and health, as well as a tailored Continuing Professional Development provision for local businesses.
Milton Keynes & North Bucks Chamber of Commerce interim chief executive Colin Fox (pictured) said: “This is a really important development for the city which desperately needs a quality face-to-face university presence to support and nurture its growing knowledge economy.
"The Chamber enthusiastically welcomes the University College and looks forward to working closely with it.”
Philip Smith, who chairs both the city’s new Business Council and Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership and is a member of the Governing Body for the University of Bedfordshire, added: “The city has been waiting for this development for a very long time.
“The University College brings the potential of supporting local people and the local economy so that we can compete effectively in an increasingly complex and competitive global context.
"We applaud the ambition of the University College and its commitment to excellence in teaching and research. It can be sure of an enthusiastic welcome from the business community.”
University College Milton Keynes will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Bedfordshire. Its departing vice chancellor Professor Les Ebdon said: “We wanted to ensure we recognise the strength of the ‘Milton Keynes’ brand, which is why we chose the name.”
The University is working with the Privy Council to secure the permission to use the prestigious University College title.
Professor Ebdon will by replaced as vice chancellor at the University of Bedfordshire by former government higher education minister Bill Rammell, who is currently deputy vice chancellor at Plymouth University
Mr Rammell said: “This is a hugely important development for the university and the people of Milton Keynes.”
Professor Keith Straughan has been appointed Interim Dean of University College Milton Keynes. He has joined from Milton Keynes College, where he was vice principal responsible for the University Centre, and was previously based at Cambridge University.
He said: “The Higher Education Board and the College have been instrumental in setting up this important opportunity for the community. We are grateful and proud of the foundation they have built through the University Centre.
“The new University College will now add significantly to the city’s profile through the presence of a true, local university offering high-quality teaching and ambitious research.”
MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart said the University College was a significant step in higher education for Milton Keynes.
Milton Keynes Council chief executive David Hill said: “Our long-term ambition has been to provide face-to-face degree-level teaching to our growing communities, without the need for people to travel elsewhere. The announcement of University College Milton Keynes is a significant step toward this vision.”
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