An event highlighting the value of Coventry and Warwickshire’s universities to the regional economy is being staged at a major international conference today (12 March 2014). The University will illustrate how important universities are as economic drivers both through their value to their surrounding economies but also through their links to businesses.
The session will be help at MIPIM, the largest commercial property conference in the world and is being organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership.
A regional impact study carried out by the university last year revealed that it supports more than 15,500 jobs across the West Midlands and contributes £520 million to the regional economy.The university is also renowned for its links with business through its highly successful Business School and Science Park and the work undertaken by Warwick Manufacturing Group, which celebrates its 35th anniversary next year.
WMG was founded to improve the competitiveness of companies around the world through innovation, new technologies and skills deployment, bringing academic rigour to industrial and organisational practice. Dr Richard Hutchins, director of JLR Programmes at WMG, is one of the keynote speakers at the event along with Bob Wilson, director of estates at the university.
“In many ways, the work of WMG is the perfect example of that both in terms of the work it has carried out but also in the investment it has undoubtedly helped attract to this area. The £100 million investment being made by Jaguar Land Rover, Tata and the UK government for the development of the National Automotive Innovation Campus is a case-in point. It will showcase the region’s ambition and resurgence in advanced manufacturing to a global audience, which is made possible by the university’s worldwide reputation and international connections."
“We are currently creating the WMG Academy for Young Engineers, a school for 14-19 year olds, which will reap significant benefits by improving the skills base of the area and thereby helping engineering and manufacturing companies achieve their potential.
Bringing together best practice in academia and commerce is a powerful combination which produces mutual benefit.”
The university sector has been a significant driver for the construction industry in recent years as it has continued to expand. Warwick, for example, is investing around £120 million a year over the next few years, which keep around 1000 construction staff employed.
Bob Wilson,director of estates at the university, explains:
Universities contribute to the economy in so many ways and their value is huge. The results of our recent regional impact study underlined that very sharply and I think was quite an eye opener for many. Almost 10,000 jobs in Coventry and Warwickshire are supported by the University, and our annual contribution to the sub-region’s economy was estimated at around £350 million.
There are very few institutions or companies that could claim to have that level of impact in their surrounding area, and, of course, there are two universities in Coventry and Warwickshire.”