Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) is providing a substantial £1.3 million in capital funds to University Campus Aylesbury Vale such that the latter can create a dedicated Digital Innovation Hub designed to support business innovation and growth in the region.
The Digital Innovation Hub is aimed at making University Campus Aylesbury Vale a centre for start-up businesses in the digital sector, with facilities including a cyber security suite and a virtual reality engineering design studio.
The campus, which is a partnership between Buckinghamshire New University and Aylesbury College, will enable small and early-stage high-growth businesses to access advice, support and incubation spaces and enjoy use of the wider facilities and opportunities offered at both institutions’ sites.
University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a purpose-built campus orchestrated for the delivery of degree and professional development courses in Aylesbury, providing degree-level courses and professional development programmes through Buckinghamshire New University and Aylesbury College. It boasts more than 300 students on its books studying courses including foundation degrees in computing and business management.
Business and education interacting
Andrew Smith, chairman of the BTVLEP, enthused: “We’re delighted to be funding this key project to create an exciting hub whereby businesses and education sector representatives can interact and which meet BTVLEP and regional skills priorities in design and technology. University Campus Aylesbury Vale’s Digital Innovation Hub represents an ideal environment for businesses and entrepreneurs in the design and digital technology sectors seeking support for start-up, innovation and growth.”
According to Smith, the new facility will be a hub for business-to-business interaction and access to apprenticeship and higher skills development, all of which will help to retain expertise in Bucks and attract talent from other areas.
Ian Harper, CEO of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, added: “We’re grateful to the BTVLEP for its support of the project and delighted that the partnership is excited by our plans to support new businesses, apprentices and undergraduates in our Aylesbury campus. We look forward to working with the BTVLEP to address the current and future skills needs of the region.”
Graduate level skills gaps
The development will incorporate a business service to meet graduate level skills gaps and a technical design facility to support the progression of technical businesses, while also inspiring the region’s youngsters to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.
Professor Tim Middleton, pro-vice chancellor for research, enterprise and international, said: “Buckinghamshire New University is excited to be working with the support of the BTVLEP to build on its work with business in further developing our University Campus Aylesbury Vale site as a place to work with start-up businesses and provide enhanced support for Continuing Professional Development in cyber security and digital design.”
A mobile facility will use simulation to showcase work and courses offered at University Campus Aylesbury Vale, particularly where the college and university seek to widen participation in further and higher education among traditionally under-represented groups.