Monday, 09 February 2015
The Chief Executive of one of the country’s biggest further and higher education colleges has hailed the ‘fantastic’ facilities on offer at the University of Worcester, and says he is looking forward to establishing closer links with the institution.
Andrew Cleaves, who took over as Principal and Chief Executive of Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet) last year, visited the University’s campuses with four of his colleagues last month.
Mr Cleaves was given a tour of University facilities including the recently-refurbished City Campus; the multi-award winning University and public library, The Hive; the University of Worcester Arena, Britain’s first indoor sporting facility specifically designed to meet the needs of wheelchair athletes; and the St John’s Campus, which is home to recently-opened Clinical Skills facilities, media suites, the Peirson Study and Guidance Centre and a range of Halls of Residence.
The extensive developments have helped Worcester become the fastest-growing university in the country over the last decade, and Mr Cleaves says he was impressed with the opportunities on offer to students.
“The facilities are fantastic,” he said. “There has been great investment here and it’s very exciting to see the development and the impact that has had for students.
“The Hive, in particular, was very interesting. It was great to see how the University and the students are fully integrated with the community, and to witness the various types of learning which are happening across the different floors.
“There are a lot of areas in which we can build strong and prosperous partnerships between the University of Worcester and BMet.”
One of those areas, Mr Cleaves says, is sport. The development of the University Arena has opened up numerous new opportunities for Worcester sports students; the venue is home to the Worcester Wolves basketball club, the training base for the Great Britain men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams and the host venue for the 2015 European Wheelchair Basketball Championships.
The facility also allows students studying a variety of degrees to build up practical, professional experience, something which Mr Cleaves was keen to praise.
BMet, like the University of Worcester, has an outstanding reputation when it comes to sport, and Mr Cleaves added: “The University Arena certainly has a very professional feel, being home to a professional club like the Wolves.
“We too have very good sporting facilities, so it would be great to again see what kind of partnership work we could build up between the institutions, particularly around disability sport, which I know is a huge area of strength for the University and something which links in with a variety of other areas such as education and health courses.”