Bucks New University students encouraged to set up firms in High Wycombe says Pro Vice-Chancellor


Date: 27th Jan 2017

The Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Enterprise & International at Buckinghamshire New University has told businesses in High Wycombe that as part of its enterprise activity it will be supporting students to set up firms in the town and continue to contribute to its economy.

Speaking as part of town centre management company HWBIDCo's Business Week, Professor Tim Middleton chaired a session discussing the future of High Wycombe's town centre  which also explored  opportunities for businesses to work with Bucks New University, including through new degree apprenticeships.

He said: "Part of our agenda at Bucks New University is ensuring our students add to the dynamic of the town. We are a town centre organisation and the future success of the town centre is fundamental to our future."

Prof Middleton pointed to a 2016 British Property Federation report which set out interesting models for town centre regeneration, and also referred to the success of Swansea in regenerating its high street through working with the creative sector.

He added: "We are interested in working with anybody who is interested in making High Wycombe a more attractive place to visit or in which to create and develop new business opportunities."

The session included town centre companies such as The Works, The Red Squirrel Brewery Shop Emporium, and Toni&Guy and focused on issues including the maintenance of the town centre and the need for networking between firms to ensure the area flourished. Prof Middleton was joined by Director of Enterprise & Business Engagement, Dr Rebecca Chandler-Wilde, and Enterprise Development and Business Engagement Officer, Justine Curtis.

Businesses work with Bucks New University on researching and developing new products and services, as well as benefiting from consultation and expert advice.

Working in partnership with leading employers, Bucks New University aims to offer around 370 new opportunities for apprentices and their employers for the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017. The apprenticeship levy will be paid by employers in any sector with a pay bill of more than £3 million per year, and will be charged at 0.5 per cent. The levy will be paid to HMRC through PAYE.

According to an economic impact assessment commissioned by Bucks New University for the period 2013-2014, the University reinforced its role as an anchor institution by contributing £856.2 million to the economy; with graduates making a contribution of £801.5 million to the economy; and the University seeing a net impact of £44.4 million to areas ranging from Wycombe district to Aylesbury Vale and the Chilterns.

Oliver O'Dell, Chief Executive of HWBIDCo, said he hoped the session would be the first in a regular series of meetings between the University and other town centre companies working together  to grow the town economy.

He added: "We enjoyed a lively session and one that demonstrated that businesses in the town are keen, and able, to drive the agenda.  This town will only ever be as good as the relationships its forges and the partnership working that it can sustain.  This group could be brave enough to challenge some established thinking with some new proposals."