Leeds Met and Wakefield Council partnership strengthened
Councillor Peter Box, the Leader of Wakefield Council with Leeds Met Vice Chancellor Susan Price
Wakefield is one of the largest districts in England without a dedicated university and so, in 2011, Leeds Metropolitan University formed an official partnership with Wakefield Council in order to work together with local businesses and to share the University's expertise in areas including economic growth and public health.
A formal ceremony took place this week at Leeds Met's Rose Bowl building with Professor Susan Price, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, and Councillor Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council, signing a memorandum of agreement.
Professor Susan Price, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University said: "The University has enjoyed a special relationship with Wakefield Council. We hope to continue to do so for many years to come. Today, we have signalled this commitment in the refreshed memorandum, which outlines our joint ambition to continue to work in collaboration and partnership."
Councillor Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council added: "The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding marks the continuation of the important relationship between the Council and the University. It promises great things for the district by building on partnership opportunities and areas of collaboration."
In the last three years, the partnership has made significant progress including:
1. Establishing the Wakefield Poverty and Prosperity Commission, which addressed issues and created strategies for tackling the low skills base and educational attainment in the district, the district's relatively poor health profile, and regeneration and unemployment;
2. The development of an evaluation framework by the Leeds Met public health team to support the involvement of communities in shaping health agendas.
3. Holding joint business events and activities, with the University offering support around knowledge transfer, research and innovation to SMEs and other local businesses.
4. Delivering of training to Council staff through courses and tailor-made training at the University, whilst students have had the opportunity to fulfil work placements at the Council.
5. Leeds Met working as part of the Wakefield Economic Partnership, helping build enterprise, raise aspirations, and encourage greater participation in higher education.
The 2014 agreement aims to advance the partnership over another five years, introducing some key new projects in the areas of public health, marketing, research and innovation, tourism, business, food and drink and the built environment.
The two organisations will additionally be embarking on joint funding bids for innovation and research projects, with the University contributing its expertise on European funding and policy issues.