Edge Hill officially becomes 'flagship' university of Wigan as deal is signed
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Edge Hill Civic Agreement recognises the role it plays in supporting economic development and enhancing the lives of people in the borough – despite the fact it is located in Ormskirk.
Leaders from the university, Wigan Council, Wigan and Leigh College and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) formally launched the agreement.
Vice-chancellor Dr John Cater said: “Every year, Edge Hill receives around 1,000 applications from Wigan residents, and there has been a long-standing relationship between the university and the schools and colleges in the borough.
“Having us recognised as the university of the borough is a great step forward for us and for the people of Wigan, enabling us to raise educational aspirations and improving their employment life chances.”
The landmark deal cements the partnership between the four organisations and builds on the work of Wigan Education and Skills Partnership (WESP), which was established in 2021 to respond to the levelling up agenda to boost education, skills and opportunities in the borough.
Specific career pathways have been identified within the agreement which will improve opportunities for Wigan residents and address the needs of the borough. They focus on education, health and social care, digital industries and business engagement.
Council leader Coun David Molyneux said: "This agreement further solidifies our partnership and places Edge Hill University as the anchor university for Wigan borough; complimenting Wigan and Leigh College’s higher-level curriculum offer and creating a wrap-around educational, skills development and employment offer that the borough can be proud of.
"We are incredibly committed to this partnership and excited about the opportunities it will provide to Wigan borough residents and to the wider Greater Manchester economy and skills portfolio.”
The partnership has already seen the opening of the Centre for Advanced Technical Studies in 2022, which offers dedicated space to develop future health professionals, civil engineers and digital and cyber specialists, and provides facilities for skills programmes.
College principal Anna Dawe said: “We are delighted that the work of the Wigan Education and Skills Partnership is now formalised through the civic university agreement. Educational opportunity is better served when higher education and further education work together and this agreement enables us to do this with a high quality local university and wider partners. This agreement complements the HE offered through our own University Centre and will broaden the HE curriculum delivered within the borough.”
Mark Jones, WWL chairman, said: “Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to endorse this civic university agreement. As a fellow anchor institution, and the biggest employer in the Wigan borough, we value the impact made by Edge Hill University locally.
“Through our partnership with Wigan Council and Wigan and Leigh College and this agreement, we not only give potential employees the skills and values they need to work in modern healthcare but create pathways to allow residents to realise their potential and ensure well-paid and fulfilling employment for local residents.”