Partnerships between the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and eight local higher education institutions are set to be strengthened.
At its meeting in Bradford today, the Combined Authority agreed that the areas of higher level skills, research and innovation, enterprise, employability and international partnerships, essential to the Strategic Economic Plan, are shared by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
“We have eight HEIs, in Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds and York, producing over 36,000 graduates each year,” said Combined Authority Chair Cllr Peter Box.
“Individual councils have memorandums of understanding with their local universities reflecting their own distinct priorities and interests and the LEP’s Joint Skills Partnership Agreement provides a framework for joined up skills activity,” he continued.
“This is an important opportunity for the Combined Authority and the HEIs to agree our shared goals upon which we can establish and develop relationships that will help us achieve growth in line with the Strategic Economic Plan.”
Leeds Metropolitan University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research & Enterprise, Professor Andrew Slade, who was invited to attend the Combined Authority meeting said, “The eight universities in the West Yorkshire area already work closely with local authorities on European Regional Development Projects and similar initiatives and I consider that working more closely in future, across all areas relevant to the SEP, can only strengthen the relationship with the regional local authorities.
"I look forward to further discussions on ways of promoting this growing cooperation”
Discussions on joint work to support the (SEP) are already underway between LEP Chair Roger Marsh and the eight local HEIs’ Vice Chancellors.
Innovation, international connections and the competitiveness of small and medium employers are among the specific areas that have been identified for collaboration. Transport, skills, employability and research are priorities that have been identified as further areas relevant for the Combined Authority LEP and individual councils.