The Faculty of Business and Law at UWE Bristol (University of the West of England, Bristol) is launching an ambitious plan to fulfill the aspirations of students and the business community through a new state-of-the art building.
The new building will house Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School and is part of the University’s campus development plan to build a University for the 21st Century.
Recent research by the Association of Business Schools and the Chartered Management Institute shows that UK business schools and businesses, who are key employers of graduates, could benefit from having much closer working relationships which would also benefit the economy. The report states that businesses want ‘business-ready’ graduates and a key route to enabling this is through student placements and work experience.
As a leading business school, Bristol Business School educates economists, lawyers, accountants, marketing and HR professionals and the business leaders of the future as well as carrying out research into some of the important business and law issues of the day.
Innovative new courses, such as the successful Business Team Entrepreneurship degree, are already creating an exciting buzz on campus, with students responding to the challenges of creating their own businesses whilst at university. Professor Jane Harrington, Pro Vice Chancellor, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, and Vice Chair of ABS wants the business community to share this vibrant atmosphere and benefit from closer contact with students and academics.
Professor Harrington says, “The business world is changing rapidly and we need to educate the next generation of business leaders in a way that meets the needs of businesses. For example we know that the greatest growth area is in SMEs, and students need a wide range of skills to be valuable in a small business. Our relationship with businesses can help us create placements for students to prepare them for the world of work so they make a contribution from day one. We know that employers are looking for soft skills, such as team working, project management, and communication as well as the knowledge and analytical skills gained through a university education.
“Our role is to be part of the real world of business, to reach out to business and enable them to reach in to us. There are huge benefits for businesses of working closely with a modern practice-based university like UWE Bristol, and this new building will create the opportunity to enable this to happen by fostering informal and formal interaction.
“My vision is for a living building where business professionals, students and academics can mingle formally and informally, in addition to our provision of real life projects for students, business incubators and consultancy. Key professional organisations will have a base in the new building; and judges, accountants, small business owners and start-ups, will be able to mix with staff and students in the social learning areas. Pop-up pods will provide flexible workspaces. State-of-the-art law courts will offer excellent facilities for our law students to practice in. Already our students are in court every day carrying out pro bono work with the support of lecturers.
“Bringing businesses into the University will enable them to access a whole range of benefits from research opportunities, to student placements, to consultancy work. It will also be hugely beneficial for students – enabling them to have direct contact with the real world of work and helping them develop the skills they need to be attractive to employers.
“In addition what we do in business and law education can help to fuel the economy and growth. Our new building can help us to support the growth agenda.”
The University is already implementing many of the recommendations arising from the CMI report including the focus on supporting SMEs and providing real world experience for students.
The building is included within the University Masterplan and is centrally located within the Frenchay Campus site. The University already has Outline Planning Approval for the building and an application for Full Planning Approval has now been submitted.