The University of Bolton and Bury Council have made an ambitious joint commitment aimed at developing Bury for future generations.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Councillor Rishi Shori, Leader of Bury Council and Professor George Holmes, President and Vice Chancellor of the University, heralds the start of a special relationship between the two institutions.
The document, signed in a ceremony at Bury Town Hall, outlines how they will work together to develop a substantial University provision and state-of-the-art infrastructure in Bury for education, industrial development and economic regeneration over the next two years.
This collaborative venture enables the University of Bolton to have a significant presence in Bury. It will initially focus on a set of key disciplines including Digital Technologies, Health & Wellbeing, Intelligent Construction Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing, and Technology Assisted Living.
The aim of the partnership is to provide a range of higher education, research and enterprise programmes. These will include undergraduate degrees, postgraduate & research degrees, degree apprenticeships, applied research projects and associate enterprise activities with industry.
The collaboration also aims to develop a top quality, modern environment for the knowledge economy in Bury, including an Innovation Zone and a Hub focussing on apprenticeships.
This initiative targets higher level skills development, new business creation and a vision to attract the best young talent, new business and people of all generations to work and live in Bury.
The University and the Local Authority will work together to establish the funding structures and income generation options for any planned development, including joint bidding for Government-incentives and grant funding. They will also work closely with regional bodies within and beyond the Greater Manchester City Region to explore opportunities for funding and mutual work in order to achieve the commitments of the MoU.
The arrangement will be managed by a steering group of four, comprising two members nominated by each organisation, who will meet regularly.
A key aim of the MOU is to provide the opportunity to funnel talent from schools, through Further Education and degrees, directly into employment, all in one town.
Cllr Rishi Shori, the Leader of Bury Council, said: “It is crucial that we are able to provide the best start for young people in terms of education which will greatly increase their employability.
“This partnership will enable Bury residents to acquire a high quality education to degree level and at the same time help us to retain talented and skilled local people in the borough to assist them in gaining employment which will contribute to and boost the economy.”
Professor George Holmes, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said he was delighted by the official collaboration between the University and Bury Council.
Prof Holmes said: “This is tremendous news and the University is delighted to be working so closely with Bury Council on such ambitious and exciting plans.
“At the University of Bolton, we are determined to help improve and change the lives of as many people as possible through education.
“This collaboration will create enormous mutual benefit for the wider business sectors and the people of Bury, as well as the entire Greater Manchester City Region.
He added: “Both organisations will foster relationships with a variety of businesses in and around the area to help achieve our goals.”
Pictured signing the Memorandum of Understanding are Cllr Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, and Professor George Holmes, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Bolton. With them are (back, from left) University of Bolton students/graduates: Molly Ellis, nursing student from Tottington; Sharleigh Wood, who is studying her PGCE; Nicola Connor, from Ramsbottom, who is studying on the nursing programme; Paris Baten, who is studying for a PGCE; and Deborah Winstanley, from Holcombe Brook, who is also on the nursing programme.