His comments follow the launch of its Civic University Agreement - how it pledges to help improve South Yorkshire lives and boost the economy in the recovery from COVID-19.
The pandemic has had a huge impact on all aspects of our life, but the effect on our region’s economy and jobs has been immense, writes Prof Kerrigan,
At Sheffield Hallam, we take seriously our role in the region, and helping to create a more inclusive and sustainable economy is a hugely important part of that. We continue to address the impact of the pandemic in the short-term, but we’re also focusing on long-term recovery supporting a stronger, greener and fairer region.
As part of our new Civic University Agreement, we have set out our commitments to the region’s economy and jobs.
The Agreement puts in writing how the University will go above and beyond business as usual, working with local partners to build back stronger from the pandemic.
Our region is home to more than 52,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and they are vital to a prosperous economy.
We will provide a multi-million pound package of free and subsidised support for regional businesses including training, access to facilities and support to develop research and innovation.
We’ve already helped hundreds of Sheffield businesses through our regional innovation programme which offers small and medium-sized businesses access to academic expertise and world-class facilities at Sheffield Hallam University.
As many organisations continue to adapt to the changing environment brought about by the pandemic, this programme is ensuring regional businesses have the right tools and technology to innovate and grow.
Technology is an essential tool, but businesses also need the right people with the right skills to be successful. That’s why we are committed to expanding our degree apprenticeship provision into the sectors that are crying out for highly skilled employees.
Degree apprenticeships are an alternative route to gaining a degree, with fees covered by the employer (supported by the Apprentice Levy), while the apprentice learns on the job and receives a salary. We co-design courses with employers to meet the future needs of the business, developing both new and existing staff.
Of the hundreds of degree apprentices currently studying at Sheffield Hallam in a range of areas including health, digital and engineering, 250 are from Sheffield.
We are committed to extending our offer further – providing places for 2,500 degree apprentices by 2024 – and working with our regional businesses to address skills gaps and continue to support South Yorkshire to build back better.
As a University, research and innovation is part of our DNA. Our two newest research centres based on the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park in Attercliffe represent over £25m of investment, helping to unlock the potential of the area and bring in further external funding.
We will build on the success of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre and National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering, and seek to develop the area as a major hub of wellbeing and sustainability innovation to attract more investment and boost productivity in the region.
Working with business and communities, Sheffield Hallam University will play a major part in the city and region’s recovery post Pandemic to ensure we emerge with a vibrant, resilient, and technically advanced economy.