After consultation with local residents and key partners, the Agreement was launched in July 2021 and set out a raft of commitments to improve the lives of people living and working in South Yorkshire, addressing key regional challenges.
Over the last two years, the Agreement has provided direction for local interventions that have had an impact on the economy and skills, education, health, and regeneration in the region.
Delivering the campus plan
Delivering the first phase of the University’s campus plan was a commitment to regeneration, helping to transform a key gateway to the city.
The development involves three new net zero carbon ready buildings surrounding a public green space on Howard Street. Last month the development reached the milestone of the highest point in the construction, with the buildings due to be finished in 2024.
More than 400 construction workers are currently involved in the development and several Sheffield Hallam students are undertaking placements and apprenticeships with construction partners – supporting the regional economy and training the next generation of industry leaders.
Expanding the University’s degree apprenticeship provision was another key commitment. In 2021, Sheffield Hallam pledged to offer at least 2,500 work-based degree apprenticeships by 2024. That target was achieved in February 2023, a year ahead of schedule.
The University was also the first in the country to offer a degree apprenticeship in physiotherapy and has one of the broadest portfolios of degree apprenticeships in the country in industries including engineering, construction and digital.
At the heart of our city and region
One of the Agreement’s highest impact pledges has been the partnership with Save the Children and Sheffield City Council to open a new nursery in Shirecliffe. The Meadows Nursery, which acts as an early years community research nursery, opened in April 2021 in the depths of the pandemic and has had a transformative impact on many families in the area – whilst helping to develop best practice nationally.
Through the partnership the Nursery’s staff have developed a parents’ breakfast club which acts as a safe environment for parents and carers to come and access support and advice as well as a nutritious breakfast.
Another initiative that addresses educational disparities in the region is the commitment to supporting the expansion of the Children’s University across South Yorkshire, which promotes participation in extra-curricular activities. Sheffield Hallam is working towards the launch of the Children’s University in Barnsley later this year, ensuring more children across South Yorkshire have access to the activities and the social capital they provide.
As well as addressing educational inequality, the Agreement focuses on tackling health inequality. Last month the University launched an ambition for a new Health Innovation Campus based at the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park. The vision builds on the University’s presence at the site and includes an Advanced Health and Care Skills Centre, a Nursery of the Future, and the Sheffield Hallam Health Acceleration Programme.
Sheffield Hallam University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Richard Calvert, said: “We are proud of our place at the heart of our city and region, and of the impact we continue to make.
“While progress has been made against our civic commitments to the region, we also know how much more there is to do, and the challenges that many of our communities face.
“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.”
Sheffield Hallam was chosen as the inaugural host of the national Civic University Network in 2020 and continues to be a national leader in this area. Working with a strong network of partners, and with over 130 higher education institutions now signed up, Sheffield is at the forefront of leading this agenda nationally.