Taken from the The Hereford Times. Dated 27.10.16
NMiTE Founders’ Fund campaign: New university could be a ‘game-changer’ for Herefordshire, company MD says.
A NEW university in Hereford would keep young talent in the county and “benefit everyone”.
That is the belief of Deborah Gittoes, the MD of Rotherwas- based Arctic Circle – which manufactures low carbon solutions for the heat transfer market.
An engineering-led company, Ms Gittoes said there are many engineers working and required within the business – but that those skills can be some of the hardest to find.
The firm supports young people through a four-year apprenticeship but the next stage – degree level – requires sending young people away from the county.
Ms Gittoes was speaking to the Hereford Times as part of this newspaper’s ongoing campaign to help find the remaining 30 founders’ to help make the Herefordshire university – the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) – a reality.
Ms Gittoes, whose business is a founding donor, said: “I see it as a way of sending our young people who have completed their fouryear apprenticeship to progress on to a degree in engineering to a local university.
“It won’t happen unless enough of us get on board with it. It needs the local business community within Herefordshire – who will primarily be SMEs.
“We need to look at further on the horizon to see what’s best for Herefordshire and for their company.
“If we can keep young people in the county that benefits everybody.”
Meanwhile, the managing director of an award-winning company has said a new university for Herefordshire could be a ‘game-changer’ – regionally, nationally and globally.
Orchard Valley Foods – which is based in Tenbury Wells but opened a new distribution centre in Leominster last year – won the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the field of International Trade.
The company’s main activities include the bulk supply of specialist food ingredients, packing of confections, decorations and inclusions, dry powder blending, and packing of these specialist ingredients.
Managing director, Mike Forrester, is one of those who has already donated £5,000 as part of the Founders’ Fund.
He believes the university would boost both the engineering industry as well as the local area and further afield.
He said: “Everybody is aware there’s a huge international shortage of engineers.
“There are some stats which show a huge number are over the age of 60 so the demographics are not pretty in terms of where we might be in five or six years’ time.
“It’s critical that we fill as quickly as possible or start to fill that gap of engineers.”
Being a rural area means companies in Herefordshire struggle to attract high-quality and well-trained staff and although the region offers a fabulous way of life, it has little to offer in terms of the ‘bright lights’ that 18-year-olds seek as part of the university experience, he said.
But the opportunity to offer a high-quality university experience in Hereford will help retain some of the county’s brightest students as well as bring in new talent who might choose to stay in the county once they’ve completed their studies.
The university, he believes, is potentially one of the most important things to happen in the area for the county’s commercial and economic growth.
“I just think it’s such an important thing economically, long-term, for the area. Potentially there will be 5,000 students once the whole thing is running,” he said.
“It puts Hereford on the map in terms of innovative education which not only puts it on the map in the UK but also internationally.”
To become a founding donor, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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