A new University Technology and Innovation Centre serving South Kesteven will open in Grantham next summer thanks to a £2 million grant from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The grant comes from the Government’s Growth Deal as the result of a joint bid from South Kesteven District Council and its regeneration company InvestSK. It will enable SKDC and the University of Lincoln – ranked 22nd in the country in the latest Guardian University Guide – to open the centre in 2019.
Tailored to meet local business needs, the centre will enable degrees and degree-level apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses to be delivered in Grantham by the University of Lincoln.
The University Centre will be located on the first floor of the new cinema complex on St Peter’s Hill in Grantham. It is just one part of the wider regeneration plans for Grantham, bringing more people into the town and strengthening its offer as a place for learning.
Initial courses will include the Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship as well as short courses and masterclasses tailored to meet business needs.
Professional business services will also be offered to include start-up advice, growing your business and business networks, and events and talks will be hosted at the centre.
There will also be the opportunity to touch down and use a desk in the centre in the early stages of developing new business ideas.
Councillor Jacky Smith, Cabinet Member for Communities, Health, Wellbeing and Skills at South Kesteven District Council, said: “We are delighted with this award from the LEP’s Growth Fund.
“The centre will provide a place for the university, business and local people to come together, innovate and continue professional development, particularly through the opportunities that Higher Apprenticeships can bring for all to earn and learn at the same time.
“This is a major milestone towards delivering our plans to enable our businesses to develop, retain and attract talent across South Kesteven. Local companies across the area face recruitment difficulties in attracting higher level skilled staff.
“Having a facility like this will help to grow and attract more investment and we are keen to work with other partners to ensure our business environment remains innovative and competitive.
“We are particularly pleased to welcome to Grantham the University of Lincoln as a highly prestigious institution which has been awarded the Teaching Excellence Gold standard.”
Ursula Lidbetter MBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said: “The LEP is delighted to be supporting this transformative skills-driven project for Grantham.
“Responding to local employer requirements, the centre will provide a new model of university and sector collaboration, ensuring that there is a gateway to higher-level skills that cultivates a culture of enterprise and innovation.”
Professor Toby Wilkinson, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln, said: “As a civic university, we’re focussed on supporting the skills and innovation which can drive economic growth across our region. We have a strong track record of responding to local needs, working with public and private sector partners.
“We’re pleased to be working with InvestSK and other organisations on this exciting proposal to develop new facilities for higher education provision in the centre of Grantham. The centre will draw on our expertise in science, engineering and business subjects, including through short courses and new degree apprenticeships, as well as providing new business incubation and networking spaces for employers.”
The Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, said: “We are committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Midlands Engine and building a country that works for everyone.
“Through this £2 million investment from the Local Growth Fund, residents and businesses in Grantham and its surrounding area will benefit from access to training and specialist support that will boost the local economy.”