Businesses’ views sought on the future shape of Swindon and Wiltshire’s high-level skills

January 4, 2018

Firms in Swindon and across Wiltshire are being invited to have their say about university-level courses in the area.

The Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has identified the need for a higher skilled workforce in the area to meet a growing number of jobs requiring degrees or equivalent qualifications.

The LEP has an ambition to make Swindon and Wiltshire renown for innovation, entrepreneurialism and a great quality of life by 2026.

As a result, one of its priorities is to develop an appropriately skilled and competitive workforce to achieve these growth ambitions.

The area’s lack of a dedicated university has been viewed as holding it back in the past – although many of its colleges offer degree-level courses.

Wiltshire is one of only a handful of UK counties without a full university while Swindon’s efforts over many decades to either attract one of its own or an off-shoot campus of the University of Bath and the University of the West of England (UWE) have proved fruitless.

Last year Oxford Brookes University relocated its Ferndale campus, which has taught adult nursing and diploma courses since 1999, to a dedicated site on the Delta Business Park as part of a £10m investment by the university over the next decade.

The LEP is developing a higher education strategy to shape a more comprehensive higher education offer in the area and enable more residents to gain the university-level skills that employers need.  

It wants businesses to contribute to, and shape, the debate.

LEP director Paddy Bradley said: “Employers are key to the development of the strategy, the more employers we hear from, the more robust the evidence will be.” 

The LEP’s Higher Futures team is working with many businesses to help them develop the skills they need to innovate and grow, among them Chippenham-based semiconductor manufacturer IXYS UK (formerly Westcode Semiconductors).

IXYS UK company secretary Phil Townsend, who is also a member of the LEP skills and talent sub group, said: “Ideas and people are key to a growing, innovative and more productive businesses.

“This is why IXYS UK supports the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership in its development of a higher education strategy and we would encourage your business to take part in the employer survey as well.”

All businesses or organisations that employ people in Swindon and Wiltshire can complete the survey in around 10 minutes at:

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