Sheffield Hallam University pledges ‘civic’ action to improve lives in South Yorkshire

Sheffield Hallam University has made a raft of new commitments to improve the lives of people living in South Yorkshire as part of a new Civic University Agreement.

The Civic University Agreement pledges action going above and beyond business as usual for the university, working with local partners to build back stronger from the pandemic and address key regional challenges around the economy, health, education, regeneration, and our communities.

The Agreement was officially launched today - Tuesday, July 27 - with the support of South Yorkshire Mayor, Dan Jarvis MP, who has committed funding to help deliver the plan.

Key actions include:

* Providing more opportunities to become an apprentice, offering at least 2,500 fully work-based degree apprenticeships that see tuition fees paid by employers and students earn a salary whilst they learn.

* A package of free and subsidised support for regional SMEs, including consultancy, training, access to university facilities, and support to develop research and innovation.

* Delivering a major redevelopment of a key gateway to Sheffield City Centre due to be completed by the end of 2023, including a new ‘university green’ public space available for everyone to use and enjoy.

* Doubling the annual intake of students studying to become healthcare professionals by 2025, addressing regional staff shortages and providing more opportunities to start a career in the NHS.

* Expanding a successful school mentoring programme that sees Hallam graduates support local school pupils with their studies, and which has already seen more than 1,000 GCSE and A-level pupils across South Yorkshire benefit.

* Developing a newly opened Early Years Community Research Centre in the Shirecliffe area, sharing best practice regionally and providing a vital community early years resource.

Other action includes working closely with Further Education colleges to develop a joined-up post-18 education offer, expanding Hallam’s innovation hub at the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park to attract new investment and jobs, and providing free or at-cost access to facilities for regional community and voluntary groups.

The University has identified ‘civic values’ to underpin the plan which include sustainability and climate action, harnessing the volunteering power of over 35,000 students and staff, and a commitment to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Richard Calvert, degree apprentice Shelagh Carter, graduate mentor Mariya Masood, South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis MP, nursing student Helen Metcalfe, Greg Mattocks-Evans and degree apprentice Natasha Parcei.

Sheffield Hallam University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Richard Calvert said: “Sheffield Hallam is proud to be a university at the heart of our region. We want to be a beacon for what a university can do for and with its community.

“Working closely with partners across the region, we are seeking to provide solutions to key regional challenges with the ultimate aim of improving the lives of local people, and strengthening the regional economy and skills base.

“The range of civic commitments set out in the new Agreement demonstrates our determination to put community at the heart of our everyday practice, ensuring that our activities provide the maximum possible benefit for local communities.

“We are at a crucial moment as we seek to build back stronger following the economic and social challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we see our role as an anchor institution in the region as critical to recovery and long-term success.”

Student nurses training at Sheffield Hallam

South Yorkshire Mayor, Dan Jarvis MP, has committed £100K of funding to help expand the successful GROW school mentoring programme. The programme, founded in the summer of 2020 with the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, is helping schools address the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on young people and their education in South Yorkshire.

The agreement is also supported by a range of local partners including local authorities, the local NHS, other educational providers, the South Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Speaking at the Civic University Agreement launch Dan Jarvis MP said: “Since being elected as Mayor of South Yorkshire, I have worked very closely with the University important projects to improve the lives of local residents.

“From providing funding to help expand the Children’s University across South Yorkshire to most recently working to support the GROW mentorship scheme, which has been a lifeline for so many young people struggling with the disruption to their education over the past year.

“The University and I share an ambition to renew our region for the benefit of everyone and I look forward to continuing our important work together.”

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Deputy Vice-Chancellor Richard Calvert, graduate mentor Mariya Masood, South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis MP, nursing student Helen Metcalfe.