Tuesday, June 25, 2019

News: Duke of York meets students at University Centre Rotherham

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The new £10.5m University Centre Rotherham (UCR) received a royal welcome this week as HRH The Duke of York KG, officially opened the higher education centre on Doncaster Gate.

The visit coincided with the centre being awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), judging that the provider delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students - the highest quality found in the UK.

UCR is a brand new campus dedicated to offering degrees and professional training qualifications, providing a state-of-the-art teaching facility in the heart of Rotherham town centre.

On Doncaster Gate, UCR is operated by leading education and training provider RNN Group and is part of the Rotherham Plan 2025, a strategy set out by the Rotherham Together Partnership to improve the economic and social wellbeing of the borough.

During the visit, The Duke was welcomed to the new campus by CEO and principal of the RNN Group, Jason Austin, along with the vice chair of the corporation, Stephen Smith, several members of the group's senior leadership team and governors.

Education is one of His Royal Highness' core areas of focus, with The Duke committed to supporting a wide range of pathways to ensure young people develop the skills they need to become economically active.

During the visit, the Duke discussed the positive impact that the centre will have in Rotherham and that the development is in the best interests of young people and local employers.

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His Royal Highness was taken on a tour of the impressive building introducing staff and students studying within the centre, along with local employers and a range of alumni who have studied higher education courses within Rotherham College, also part of the RNN Group.

The main areas of focus during the visit were performing arts where degree students showcased a short performance from Shakespeare's Macbeth and media and photography where key features of the studio were described as enhancing the educational experience and employability skills.

Others included computing and digital and health and social care where The Duke had the opportunity to see how students work closely with local employers on live projects to ensure skills and experiences gained at UCR are relevant for the workplace. Students also demonstrated how the state-of-the-art facilities within the UCR are dedicated to providing all learners the opportunity to study their degrees locally without compromising on quality.

UCR's facilities also include specialist teaching areas, seminar and lecture rooms, a modern library, café and both independent and group study spaces.

RNN Group expects to run 50 different university-level courses by 2020, adding to the 32 higher-level courses currently on offer. The target is to attract 1,000 additional students over the first five years and tuition fees are under the £9,000 charged by many universities, making degrees more accessible for people in the town.

A commemorative plaque was unveiled by His Royal Highness, marking the opening of University Centre Rotherham as a key local Higher Education provider.

In March 2012 The Duke opened Rotherham College's Wentworth building offering specialist facilities in computing, business and accounting. Rotherham College is part of the same educational and training group as University Centre Rotherham, the RNN Group which also incorporates North Notts College, Dearne Valley College, RNN Training and other subsidiary training organisations. This continued investment in high quality education provision is aimed at increasing access to higher-level skills and, with the addition of University Centre Rotherham, higher or degree-level qualifications.

Jason Austin, CEO and principal of RNN Group, said: "With the official opening of our brand new University Centre Rotherham, we are proud to be extending our continued commitment to excellent education and training provision so that local people can now study degrees in the heart of Rotherham.

"We recognise this as an exciting step toward reducing the local skills gap and supporting the regional economy. We are delighted that the centre has been officially opened by HRH the Duke of York KG and hope this raises awareness of the significantly-improved access to local higher or degree-level qualifications."

The centre is hosting an open day this Saturday.

UCR website

Images: Duke of York / twitter

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