Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Greenwich and the University of Kent support almost 1,600 local jobs through their economic activity and welcome more than 1,200 students a year from the Medway area to their shared Chatham Maritime campus.
A new report based on research by higher education consultancy Viewforth and analysis of wider impact data reveals how the three universities bring jobs and investment to the region while forming a key part of a thriving local community.
Income received through tuition fees and grants creates a ripple effect that supports jobs and growth in wider sectors throughout the region. Meanwhile, students themselves have an impact far beyond their studies, from spending money in local services to participating in volunteering and outreach initiatives.
Highlights of the Universities’ wide-ranging impact include:
- The Universities at Medway contributed £143.6m to the south east economy in 2015/16
- More than 1,578 full-time equivalent jobs in the south-east are supported by the Universities’ activities
- Students at their joint Medway campus spend £158m a year with Medway businesses and services
- Medway students volunteer for more than 16,000 hours a year helping charities and the local community
The Universities at Medway is a unique partnership between Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Greenwich and the University of Kent. Established in 2004, it has grown to welcome more than 10,000 students to its campus each year, with a focus on health and social care, engineering and science, business, journalism and the creative industries.
Twelve per cent of all students at the campus are from the Medway area, while more than 22,000 local young people with no family experience of university take part in outreach activities each year.
The Universities also work in partnership with Medway Council and the business community to promote the area and support the ambition to transform Medway into a vibrant waterfront university city by 2035. To support this, the University of Kent has recently received £4.3m in Government funding to boost creative industries in the area by supporting ‘creative clusters’.
In addition, Canterbury Christ Church University leads the development of local skills in Health and Social Care through its partnership with Medway Maritime Hospital and the University of Greenwich supports the growth of start-up companies and tech entrepreneurs through co-running Innovation Centre Medway.
Meanwhile, the new Kent and Medway Medical School, a collaboration between Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent, will bring the next generation of medical professionals to the region through the placement of aspiring trainee doctors at Medway primary healthcare settings and hospitals.
Professor Karen Cox, Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent said: ‘I’m delighted to see the combined impact our joint work in Medway, demonstrating the vital contribution the Universities make to the region. As the Universities at Medway, we play a key role in equipping students with the skills and experience they need to meet the area’s needs – from degrees in innovative, creative and business-oriented programmes to higher-degree apprenticeships and work-based learning. In particular, we are determined to support plans to make Medway a leading waterfront city and a core destination for the creative industries, bringing investment, innovation and long-term job prospects to the area.”
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, said: ‘We are proud to be part of the Universities at Medway. Together our universities, and our students, contribute millions of pounds to the economic prosperity of the region and help to support over 1,500 jobs. However, this impact extends beyond the financial picture of the region. Our courses help local people to start their careers and develop skills to support the health, wellbeing and education of our communities, and produce highly skilled, work-ready graduates to strengthen our local industries to make a lasting difference in society. Along with our student volunteers, and the pioneering research of our staff, it demonstrates how universities bring a diverse value to our region.’
Professor David Maguire, Vice Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, said: ‘It’s very positive to see in such clear terms the economic benefits of the Universities at Medway. Our work in partnership enables us to ensure that we provide an excellent teaching and learning experience for our students while they are at university and that we give them the best possible start in their chosen careers. It also enables us to work collaboratively in key areas to maximise their impact, such as in delivering our Sustainable Development Goals.’.