If the past year has taught us anything it is that community matters.
Putting communities at the heart of our response to Covid-19 has been at the forefront of Sheffield Hallam University’s decision-making throughout the pandemic.
At Sheffield Hallam, we take seriously our role in the region, and our work with Rotherham is an important part of that. We continue to address the impact of the pandemic in the short-term, but we’re also focusing on the long-term recovery of our region.
We want to show what a university can do for and with its community, and our new Civic University Agreement puts in writing our commitment to South Yorkshire.
The agreement sets out how the university will go above and beyond business as usual, working with local partners to build back stronger from the pandemic.
Covid-19 has made many of the challenges that the region already faced even harder to address. Access to high-quality education and skills that enable young people to achieve their full potential is one of those challenges.
Since 2019, we have been working with Rotherham Council, our elected Mayor Dan Jarvis and local schools to extend the Children’s University programme in Rotherham.
The Children’s University is a national charity which works with schools to encourage participation in extra-curricular activities - opening opportunities and raising ambitions for young people.
For some of those pupils those ambitions may include going to college or applying to study at Sheffield Hallam University. We currently have more than 2,000 students from Rotherham – with more than 500 training for a career in nursing or other health profession and almost 250 on teacher training and education courses.
These young people are the future of our NHS and teaching profession and with a high proportion remaining in the region once qualified, they will be vital to the future success of South Yorkshire.
A prosperous economy is also vital for the region’s future and supporting local businesses is another of our commitments.
We’re already working with Rotherham businesses through our regional innovation programme which offers free access to academic expertise and world-class facilities at Sheffield Hallam University - ensuring regional businesses have the right tools and technology to innovate and grow.
Technology is an essential tool, but businesses need the right people with the right skills to succeed. That’s why we continue to expand 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, and see fees covered by the employer, while the apprentice learns on the job and receives a salary. Employers help us to design courses that meet the needs of the business, developing both new and existing staff.
More than 120 degree apprentices from Rotherham are currently studying at Sheffield Hallam – helping to address skills gaps and supporting South Yorkshire to build back better.
As we look towards social and economic recovery from the pandemic, Sheffield Hallam is committed to help shape what that looks like for our region – working with and for communities across Rotherham.
Richard Calvert, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University