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Call to back universities as report reveals £2.7 billion contribution to Liverpool’s economy

8 months ago

Call to back universities as report reveals £2.7 billion contribution to Liverpool’s economy
Universities in Liverpool

New report reveals more than 18,900 jobs in Liverpool are supported by higher education. Of those, a large portion are employed indirectly by businesses, such as retailers and hospitality, benefitting from nearby campuses, Universities UK says governments “must act” to safeguard this economic contribution.

As universities in Liverpool prepare to welcome new students, a new report by London Economics has revealed that higher education makes a £2.7bn contribution to the city’s economy.

Commissioned by Universities UK (UUK), the report further reveals that universities support 18,900 full time equivalent jobs across Liverpool – this includes those employed by local businesses such as restaurants and retailers who benefit from the economic stimulus universities create.

Credit: The Guide Liverpool

However, as the sector contends with challenges including a £1bn funding hole in domestic student tuition fees and the pressures created by the cost of living crisis, UUK says there is a pressing need to reform how universities are supported in order to sustain their positive economic impact.

Professor Dame Sally Mapstone DBE FRSE, President of Universities UK and Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, said:

“As economic hubs in their own right, universities support and create a huge number of jobs across multiple sectors, meaning people up and down the country benefit financially, whether or not they have a degree. They also play a crucial role in creating the graduates, spin outs and start-ups that provide the basis for economic growth in future.

“The country’s continued investment in higher education institutions can and does pay back dividends; not just for Liverpool, but the entire UK.” 

Looking at the UK as a whole, universities support more than three quarter of a million jobs (768,000 full-time equivalent) and contribute £116bn to the UK economy – this rises to £130bn when the spending of international students is included.

The figures come as Higher Education Statistical Agency figures show a record 17,933 student start-up businesses now operate in the UK, while the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE) forecast universities will help attract more than £2bn in funding for local regeneration projects.

University of Liverpool Picture - Mccoy Wynne
University of Liverpool Picture – Mccoy Wynne

Dr Gavan Conlon, Partner at London Economics, said: 

“There is no doubt about the contribution of the UK higher education sector to Liverpool and the rest of the UK’s economy. With approximately 2.9 million students and 385,000 staff across almost 300 higher education providers, the sector is instrumental in driving economic growth in both the short run and longer term.

“Given the financial challenges institutions face, there is a need to provide both adequate resources to support teaching and learning activities, but also certainty in respect of research funding.”        

Aside from producing a talent pool with highly sought after skills, universities provide local businesses and small enterprises with product development support, access to new markets, consultation services, incubators and research facilities and work with organisations to provide jobs for local people within their communities.

Universities have a track record of attracting funding for innovative collaboration between businesses and academics, resulting in services that benefit the wider community.

The Low Carbon Eco-innovatory (LCEI) is a partnership between the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Lancaster University. Since launching in 2015, LCEI has offered over 300 businesses within Liverpool City Region an opportunity to access world-leading resources, facilities and expertise to research new or improved low carbon goods and services.

The £12m partnership has supported a range of projects and internships, including work by the graduates behind Enturi.

Since securing University of Liverpool Enterprise Funding, the award-winning net zero diversity company has worked with LCEI PhD students to further develop their pioneering wind turbine design.

Dr Matt Fulton, Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory Director at University of Liverpool, said: 

“The aim of LCEI is to build relationships with SMEs and encourage businesses to maintain a broader, long-term relationship with the city region’s research base.

“Within the University of Liverpool, the programme has so far funded 38 collaborative PhD projects, over 100 paid internships and industrial dissertation projects.”

Another example is Liverpool John Moores University’s pioneering nursing ‘transition’ course for refugees, which enables them to join the NHS workforce. Hundreds of nurses who have often fled conflict or persecution abroad to settle in Britain are currently unable to practice, despite being fully qualified in their own countries. Completion of the course, which is delivered in partnership with the charities RefuAid and Talent Beyond Boundaries, and NHS England, places the nurses in position for frontline work with local NHS employers, giving them an opportunity to contribute to the health and wellbeing of their new home. 

In October 2021, the Minister of State for Health, Rt Hon Edward Argar attended the graduate ceremony for a cohort of 25 students, praising the project’s innovation and collaboration.

Dr Sean Mackay, Associate Dean for Global Engagement in the Faculty of Health at John Moores University, said: 

“Our nursing ‘transition’ course is one of the first of its kind and has so far supported hundreds of refugees who have fled conflict abroad.

“The four-week course includes practicals in LJMU’s new cutting-edge simulation suites, which closely mimic a hospital environment, alongside language work and other support to enable the refugees to attain the required registration.

“The course, which is delivered in collaboration with RefuAid and Talent Beyond Boundaries, has not only enabled refugees to find their feet and integrate into our local communities, but also put their skills to good use and support healthcare in the area.”

For more news in Liverpool click HERE.

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