15:42, Thursday, 8th November 2018

Plans to invest in a new University Campus North Lincolnshire (UCNL) have moved a step closer in a joint bid to grow Higher Education in Scunthorpe.

The growth plans aim to deliver 1,500 university-level places within Scunthorpe as part of the University Campus North Lincolnshire initiative.

In addition, the first phase of the development North Lindsey College, part of DN Colleges Group, will move its existing undergraduate programmes to the council’s Civic Centre building in Scunthorpe.

Work on transforming the Civic Centre into a key part of the University Campus is due to start in a matter of months and it is expected to open in September 2019.

North Lindsey College, working in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council and the University of Lincoln, submitted a joint bid to the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) in 2017 for capital funding to contribute towards achieving a University Campus for North Lincolnshire.

Julian Free, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, said: “I am delighted with the announcement. All of us at the University are looking forward to working with our partners at North Lincolnshire Council and North Lindsey College to open this University Campus in Scunthorpe.

“This will make a huge difference to the local community. It will provide access to gold standard higher education and play a key role in working to meet the skills requirements of North Lincolnshire industry in order to promote the region’s continuing economic development.”

Cllr Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, welcomed the plans for Civic Centre, saying, “Transforming Civic Centre into a dedicated university campus in the heart of Scunthorpe will have huge benefits for North Lincolnshire. The University Campus will inspire and raise the aspirations of children and young across our area.

“This is an opportunity for employers across the region to come to North Lincolnshire and tap into a wealth of the brightest and the best graduates who have the higher-level skills they need to support growth.”

North Lincolnshire Council will enter into a long term lease with North Lindsey College and their staff currently based at Civic Centre will relocate to Church Square House in Scunthorpe town centre, in a move that will save local taxpayers £375,000 per year.

“While Higher Education at North Lindsey College has grown substantially over the last few years, having a dedicated University Campus in the town will make Higher Education more accessible to people across our community, promoting real social mobility.”  Said Mick Lochran (North Lindsey College Principal).   

In a further boost for skills in our area, the College is also an anchor partner in a bid led by the University of Lincoln for Department of Education funding to become a national Institute of Technology, which will see an increase in the number of people in North Lincolnshire qualified at Level 4 and above.

Anne Tyrrell (Chief Executive Officer, DN Colleges Group) commented, “We are proud to be working in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council, the University of Lincoln and the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, to deliver such an ambitious project that will bring major benefits to Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire.”

The decision to relocate the current University Centre evolved after continuous growth in numbers, resulting in a need for larger premises and a long line of successes.

“We are already one of the largest College-based University Centres in the UK with an outstanding reputation for quality through our inspections and judgements through the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) for Higher Education,” says Maxina Butler-Holmes, Assistant Principal for Higher Education.

“Student satisfaction as demonstrated through the National Student Survey has been consistently remarkable, resulting in our second place in the ‘What Uni’ award for College-based Higher Education in 2018.”

“The University Campus would result in a truly transformational change placing North Lincolnshire as a leader in community based higher level skills and professional development.  We have strong, well established University partnerships which will enable us to introduce new undergraduate courses and significantly, post graduate, professional development and management development provision all available locally in Scunthorpe.”

Baroness Liz Redfern, North Lincolnshire Ambassador Higher Education added, “I’m proud to have helped lead this partnership to bring forward the University Campus North Lincolnshire, and I’m looking forward to seeing more students studying for degree-level qualifications in the heart of North Lincolnshire.”

The investment will bring new skills and opportunities to the area in a central location of the town.  Recent changes in the student finance system this year make it easier than ever for people to study a part-time degree programme as well as the offer of higher-level apprenticeships. In addition to the wide range of Bachelor’s degree, Foundation degrees, HNC and HND courses already running at the University Centre, there are plans to introduce a new post-graduate Masters and professional development courses along with a range of short courses concentrating on innovation for local businesses.