Plans for a university-level centre in Rotherham are taking a step forward after £3.5m funding is received from the Sheffield City Region.
Rotherham College, part of the RNN Group, will open the new £10.5m higher education centre to students in Autumn 2018, offering a new range of degrees and degree apprenticeships.
It’s hoped the project will address the skills gap in Rotherham as currently only 23% of people in the town have a higher education qualification compared to the national average of 36%. This should enable students across the region the opportunity to progress in their careers, increase their income and help attract employers to Rotherham.
Work on the Rotherham Higher Education and Skills Centre begins in June and involves the construction of a 3,300m² campus on Doncaster Gate in the town centre. The university-level centre will give students access to state-of-the-art facilities including open plan aided learning space, a café, social area, and meeting and interview rooms.
The new centre will focus on growing courses in key economic sectors where the local economy needs more qualified people to fill jobs which include digital, creative, health, technical construction, engineering and leadership and management.
RNN Group has been working closely with employers to develop courses that will address these skills gaps and will be offering degree apprenticeships at the university-level centre, designed to get people in work into higher education training while they earn.
Routes to access higher education also include new degree programmes for students from local schools and sixth form colleges, and for adult returners to education, who will benefit financially with lower tuition fees (paid for by Student Loans) below £7,500 per year, compared to £9,000 or over at many universities, and the ability to live at home.
Chief Executive of the RNN Group, John Connolly, said: “This project will create a real skills revolution in the town, helping people to achieve things they never thought possible, without having to move away to university and have a huge debt looming over them.
“There are many advantages for businesses which engage with the project too, and we have already consulted with 200 employers locally and continue to forge close partnerships with major companies, to ensure we offer courses to enhance and build the workforce of the future.”
The Rotherham Higher Education and Skills Centre aims to attract 1,000 additional students over the first five years. It is also predicted that through higher education training, students will develop the skills they need to set up around 30 new businesses, creating jobs and opportunities for the future.
A wide range of higher education programmes will be available to students and employers for the first time, with over 50 courses expected to be running by 2020.
Rotherham College provides a wide range of higher education courses, for more information visit https://www.rotherham.ac.uk/higher-education/
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