Thursday, 03 April 2014
The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, has praised the University of Worcester’s contribution to the community in a major speech delivered today (Thursday April 3).
Speaking at the Universities UK conference on the Economic Impact of UK Higher Education, Mr Willetts was reacting to new figures published today, which reveal that UK universities’ contribution to the UK economy has increased by 24% since 2009.
Universities now generate £73 billion in output, putting higher education ahead of many other UK sectors including air transport, advertising, legal services and computer manufacturing.
He then singled out Worcester, along with the University of Lincoln, as examples of universities investing, both financially and culturally, in the communities in which they serve.
“The University of Worcester has broken new ground in really bringing its community onto its campus,” he told the conference. “Its inspirational new library, The Hive, is the first joint university and public library in Europe. It is a fabulous resource for students and researchers. But it is also pulling in people – and especially disadvantaged young people – from outside in a quite remarkable way.”
He continued: “Nearly four times as many children are now taking out books to read. Kids who had never set foot in a university before go there voluntarily to do their homework after school. University students run drama workshops for children at the weekend. And the Hive’s work club and adult learning programmes are having a big impact too, with a growing track record of people securing jobs or picking up their education again.”
The success of The Hive as an engine of inclusion and opportunity has been replicated in the University of Worcester Arena, which will shortly celebrate its first birthday. The Arena, the home of GB wheelchair basketball, is the UK’s most inclusive indoor sporting arena and has so far benefited thousands of athletes, from grass roots to elite, able-bodied and disabled.