The visit comes as the university celebrates its tenth anniversary year and launches a new strategic plan to position the university for further and future sustainability and success.
This year, 3,000 students will graduate from the University of Cumbria entering the workplace as professionals or continuing on to higher degrees. Many remaining in Cumbria and north Lancashire filling vital professional roles in sectors such as health, well-being and sport; education; science, technology, engineering & mathematics (STEM); arts and culture; business and professional services; and the rural and visitor economies.
As the only university to have a campus within a national park and linked to two World Heritage Sites, the Royal visit will be used to mark the 10th anniversary and celebrate the university, its many achievements and to highlight the significant future role and impact of the university in communities in Cumbria, north Lancashire and beyond.
Since it was formed in 2007, more than 32,000 students have graduated from the university which operates sites in Carlisle, Ambleside, Lancaster and London where 70% of schools in Tower Hamlets employ at least one Cumbrian graduate.
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome The Princess Royal to the university during such an important year for us and to have the opportunity to share with her the changes that are taking place,” Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell said: “In our tenth anniversary year we have come a long way in delivering a skilled graduate workforce to meet regional and national needs, working in many partnerships to raise aspiration and attainment and equip our learners for practice within a wide range of professions. We are very proud of our achievements and the difference we make to economic prosperity, social impact and culture life in Cumbria and beyond”
Key to this is the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) facilities at the university which will be inspected by the princess. Funded in part by the Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership, the £3.5 million development is fully commissioned and is used for zoology, forensic and health courses as well as research work. The university is gaining a strong reputation for valuable, ‘real world’ research, 80% of which was considered in the last Research Excellence Framework exercise to be of a standard recognised internationally or higher.
In our tenth anniversary year we have come a long way in delivering a skilled graduate workforce to meet regional and national needs, working in many partnerships to raise aspiration and attainment and equip our learners for practice within a wide range of professions
With 14% of businesses with employees in Cumbria still identifying skills gaps in their business or organisation, a figure that hasn’t changed since 2013 the university has formed links with business in all sectors. From conservation to nuclear energy and the arts, the university will be showcasing its collaborative work to the princess during the visit.
Innovative work to reduce the number of falls among an ageing population by our Active Ageing Group and the ‘maths mastery’ programme to improve the mathematics ability of teachers led by the Institute of Education are just two examples of the real world benefits the university brings.
A paramedic training course, developed in partnership with the North West Ambulance Service in response to a shortage of paramedics in Cumbria, is another example to be highlighted of how the university is helping tackle the area’s needs.
Following a performance by university performing arts students, the princess will be invited to unveil a plaque to commemorate her tour in front of guests, many with close ties to the university.
“With a new strategic plan which sets out more than ever how we aim to benefit the region, her visit comes at an exciting time and we’re proud to be able to mark the occasion and showcase our aspirations alongside the people and organisations we work closely with to make a difference to lives and our communities,” Prof Mennell said.