Posted 23 January 2008
The Boards of Shropshire’s two land-based Colleges, Harper Adams University College and Walford and North Shropshire College, have signed up to a memorandum of understanding as part of a commitment to securing closer co-operation on areas of common interest such as developing new courses and supporting the continuing development of rural professionals.
The pledge forms part of both institutions’ response to the government’s drive to promote greater engagement with employers in higher education. Andrew Tyley, Principal and Chief Executive of Walford and North Shropshire College notes: “Harper Adams University College is the leading specialist land-based higher education College in the country. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Harper Adams to build better progression from vocational training to degree-level and post-graduate courses. There is scope for tremendous synergy between Harper Adams and the specialist land-based provision we deliver from our Walford campus near Shrewsbury. I am convinced that by working more closely we can extend the land-based offer to local learners and employers”.
The agreement will focus on expanding land-based education and training opportunities under the Learning and Skills Council’s “Train to Gain” initiative and the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s “Employer Engagement” programme, underpinned by greater collaboration on practical rural skills training, staff development, knowledge transfer and extension of foundation degree level in specialist land-based subjects.
Harper Adams’ pioneering work within this area was recently recognised when Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, visited the University College.
Professor Wynne Jones, Principal of Harper Adams University College, sees the collaboration as a win-win opportunity: “Partnership working is a key feature of our employer engagement strategy and it makes absolute sense for us to build an effective working relationship with Walford and North Shropshire College given their high profile with Shropshire’s land-based employers and the growing numbers of 14-19 learners coming through the Walford campus. Both Harper Adams and Walford put much energy into working with rural businesses and related professional organisations, communities and networks. Working in collaboration and managing joint-initiatives is already proving a successful approach.”