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A year of the civic university

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27 July 2022  |  4 minutes (base on 200w = 1 minute)

A year of the civic university

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Operations)

This week marks the first anniversary of the launch of Sheffield Hallam's Civic University Agreement

From left, degree apprentice Natasha Parcei, Greg Mattocks-Evans, occupational therapy degree apprentice Shelagh Carter, nursing student Helen Metcalfe and GROW mentor Mariya Masood

In 2019 the Civic University Commission, led by former Sheffield City Council Leader, Bob Kerslake, called on universities across the country to reshape their role and responsibilities to support their local communities – to be truly civic.

 

In truth, Sheffield Hallam has been a “civic university” since we first formed as the Sheffield School of Design in 1843. We have been a part of the fabric of Sheffield and the wider region ever since, making a powerful impact on our communities through our provision of skills and education, but also through our wider role as an anchor institution having a positive impact on the lives of people across our city.

 

One of the strengths of the Civic University Commission’s recommendations was in its focus on embedding community at the heart of everyday practice – not just as a ‘nice-to-do’. Like many in the sector, we welcomed this challenge, and in July 2021, after public and stakeholder consultations, we formally launched our first Civic University Agreement.

 

Over the last 12 months, our Agreement has given us a strong direction for delivering local interventions, a clearer understanding of partner needs, and most importantly, a chance to listen to the local community about what Sheffield and South Yorkshire needs from a university.

 

And we are proud of the progress we have made in our first year.

 

As the country responds to increasing economic challenges, our focus on the local economy and jobs has meant we are ahead of our target to offer at least 2,500 work-based degree apprenticeships by 2024, including a new degree apprenticeship with South Yorkshire Police. We were named provider of the year at the South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Awards; and the Sheffield Innovation Programme, our joint project with the University of Sheffield and the City Region Growth Hub, has supported 400 projects with local companies, bringing new products and services to market and creating jobs. We’re also now offering every undergraduate real work experience or a placement in every year of their study, supporting local businesses and providing more work-ready graduates into the local jobs market.

 

On education and skills, we opened a new nursery in Shirecliffe, helping a community in real need of quality early years provision, including extra funding through a partnership with Save the Children which is supporting families most in need. Our GROW Mentoring programme has supported nearly 2,500 school and college pupils across South Yorkshire to re-engage with their studies in the wake of disruption caused by the pandemic; and we have expanded the Children’s University across South Yorkshire, including Rotherham’s first graduation ceremony just last month. 700 Hallam teaching graduates will be employed in South Yorkshire schools from September; and we worked in collaboration with college partners to support the successful South Yorkshire Institute of Technology bid, which will be located at our new City Campus development.

 

The focus on health and wellbeing has never felt so important. Our researchers at our Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, based at the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, are working with Darnall Well Being to support the local community to lead healthier and more active lives. We also continue all our work to increase the pipeline of skilled graduates to the local NHS.

 

And on community and regeneration, work is well underway for the first phase redevelopment of our city campus, which will regenerate the gateway to Sheffield city centre; we are close to launching a new project with Voluntary Action Sheffield which will benefit community and voluntary groups; and we are working with our partners at Sheffield City Council and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority to ensure our specialist research and policy expertise can support future plans for our region.

 

We are also ambitious about our role as a national leader in this area, and were delighted to be chosen as the first host of the national Civic University Network. Working with a strong network of partners, and over 130 higher education institutes now signed up, Sheffield is truly at the forefront of leading this agenda nationally.

 

While we are pleased with our progress, we also know how much more there is to do, and the challenges that many of our communities face.

 

We are proud of our place at the heart of our city and region, and the impact we continue to make. But we are determined, alongside our partners and local community, to do more, and to make “civic” an even stronger part of who we are and how we work.

 

Contact the press office

For help with a story or to find an expert

Email: pressoffice@shu.ac.uk
Phone: 01142 252811
Twitter: @shupressoffice