Council holding talks with two universities

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Calderdale Council’s leader has revealed that it is in talks with two universities about opportunities for this district.

Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said discussions are taking place with both Leeds Beckett and Huddersfield universities about how they could invest in and work with our area.

Though he stopped short of outlining measures to bring higher education to Halifax, he said “important practical steps” have been taken which will benefit business and residents.

This comes after MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber Amjad Bashir revived calls for Halifax to provide university education in a letter to the Courier.

Coun Swift said that during the last Labour government, higher education was massively expanded and there were opportunities for Halifax to attract a university presence.

“Although there was some interest, the council at the time lacked the driving ambition that would have been needed to secure this,” he said.

“Since 2010, West Yorkshire’s universities have consolidated and not shown any sustained appetite for expansion of ‘satellite’ universities into areas such as Halifax.

“Lacking a physical university presence, in the past we have too often seen our brightest young people leave Calderdale for their post-18 education and then be slow to return. And many of our businesses could benefit both from easier access to graduate skills, but also to the research knowledge and expertise that universities can bring.

“We’re excited that we are having discussions with both Leeds Beckett and Huddersfield universities about how they could invest and work with us in Calderdale.”

He said this includes supporting business growth, improving access to advanced skills and benefiting from their facilities such as the 3MU centre, an advanced manufacturing and research space in Huddersfield.

Coun Swift said these were “important practical steps” and the links mean that if there are opportunities for higher education to expand, then Calderdale will be well placed to take advantage.