Education and Training
Businesses run by these three bosses sustain thousands of jobs and generate £480m-plus for the UK
Together the institutions they lead make quite a powerful triumvirate - contributing near £200m to the local economy and some £480-plus million to the UK annually.
They employ thousands of staff in Gloucestershire and more than 7,400 UK-wide, with at least 14 start-up businesses spinning out of them in the last three years and investment of £50m-plus over the same period.
We are talking about none other than the University of Gloucestershire, Hartpury University and the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.
The University of Gloucestershire alone – the big-daddy of the trio – has invested more than £40m over the three years to the end of 2019, sustains 2,163 jobs ‘locally’ and some 2,826 regionally.
According to the UCU (University and College Union), which has just released a report into the contribution of the university sector to UK plc to underline its value, the Gloucester and Cheltenham-based member of the family contributes an estimated £151m GVA (gross value added) annually ‘locally’, £209m regionally and £357m UK-wide.
Russell Marchant, vice-chancellor of Hartpury University and Principal of Hartpury College - which share the same campus site, said: “We’re pleased to be playing our part in increasing the prosperity of the region through our longstanding support for the business community.
“A thriving economy is important for all our staff and their families, as well as for the future career prospects of our college and university graduates, many of whom stay to live and work in the region.
“We’ll continue to work alongside employers, many of whom provide vitally important work placements for our students, to bring further economic success to the region."
According to the report Hartpury, just north of Gloucester, supports 225 jobs ‘locally’, has 1,820 students, invested £6m-plus over the last three years, supports 4,000-plus jobs in the region and generates £95m GVA for the UK. There were no figures estimating it ‘local’ GVA.
As for the RAU, it was estimated to contribute £14m locally, have invested £5.5m over the three years, have 1,150 students, support 350 jobs locally and 555 across the region generating £32m GVA for the UK annually.
A spokesman for the RAU, which this year celebrates its 175th year, and whose vice chancellor is Professor Joanna Prices, said: "We are proud to make a significant local and wider economic contribution in terms of providing employment, supporting businesses and communities, and producing skilled graduates that go on to play essential roles in land-based and other sectors."
The University of Gloucestershire is in the process of commissioningit own report looking at its economic impact.
“The university welcomes the report commissioned by UCU confirming the significant economic impact of universities on their local economies. A similar economic impact report, published in 2015, showed the university contributed an estimated £150m to the Gloucestershire economy in 2014.
“The report estimated for the first time the various impacts of the University’s activities, in terms of supporting economic, social and community wellbeing for Gloucestershire. It estimated that the University’s activities and spending supported almost 3000 jobs in the South West region.
“Since the report was published the University has made significant investments in expanding its facilities: opening the 800-bed Student Village at Pittville; the new Business School and expanded clinical skills learning environments for nursing and allied health courses at Oxstalls; and the Sports Arena at Oxstalls Sports Park; as well as a new Design Centre, engineering suite and upgraded Media School facilities at Park.
“This further recognition of the economic role of universities in their local towns and cities underlines the University’s commitment to be a key contributor to the economic recovery, prosperity and wellbeing of the county as we move out of lockdown as a result of the Covid19 pandemic.”
The purpose of the UCU report was to underline just how significant the institutions are to the nation and “how they are one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis”.
“Lockdown measures have had an immediate impact, and there is the prospect of significant losses in the event of falls in international students and other income sources,” said Tim Fanning is a Director at Hatch Regeneris, in a blog to accompany his work on the report he compiled for the UCU.
“The scale of these is uncertain at present, but recent work for UCU concluded there could be a £2.5 billion black hole, and the IFS estimates long-run losses at anywhere between £3 billion and £19 billion.”
First published August 7.