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University seeks to support expanding construction sector

University seeks to support expanding construction sector

Academic staff and construction sector guests at the University of Gloucestershire’s new School of Business and Technology.

The University of Gloucestershire has welcomed local companies linked to the construction sector to a special showcase of its new £20 million School of Business and Technology at its Oxstalls campus.

Just over 1,700 students have begun their studies in the Business area of the School’s new ultramodern building, which also houses the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) ‘Growth Hub,’ and the University’s business development department - ‘University in Business (UiB).’

Speaking to over 20 visiting professionals from across Gloucestershire, Professor Kamal Bechkoum, Head of the School of Business and Technology, said:

“According to a recent report by the Local Enterprise Partnership the construction industry is one of the UK economy’s key drivers and contributes around six per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Some 2.3 million people work in construction and this is growing by 2.8 per cent annually. This comes with specific challenges, such as labour demands for over 24,300 people in Gloucestershire alone.

“However, construction isn’t just about building and there are increasing needs for skilled and qualified people working in areas including leadership and management, IT, engineering technologies, HR, art and design, accounting, finance and marketing.

“Our School is already delivering junior, senior and executive programmes that can significantly benefit companies’ workforce planning.”

Event guest Gerald Crittle of the Gloucestershire Construction Training Group, commented:

“Having the University open its doors to business is very useful and there’s clearly lots of help and support they can offer, whether it’s management or developing internal teams.

“We’re in an age where training doesn’t have to be structured around a nine-to-five course. It’s all about engaging and sharing knowledge efficiently. A key challenge is to get this message out to busy contractors who don’t often have time to attend networking events like this.”

Suzanne Hall-Gibbins of Circle to Success added: “The University of Gloucestershire is one of our long-term partners and together we’re already helping businesses across the region with initiatives like our executive development programme, which engages middle managers and supports their aspirations.

“We also have a construction focus group so we’re talking with the School about areas such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Technology is playing a huge part in all aspects of the construction sector so the University’s intervention is a real game-changer in terms of what it can now offer.”

The School of Business and Technology’s academic subject areas include Business Management, HR, Entrepreneurship, Accounting and Finance, Law, Marketing, Events and Hospitality Management.

The Technology part of the School is home to an additional 750 students at the University’s Cheltenham Park Campus and specialises in computing and engineering, along with a state-of-the-art cybersecurity facility.

Professor Bechkoum concluded: “My message is let’s work together on the issues that matter most to the business community in Gloucestershire. We are open for business so try us if you haven’t yet done so.”

For further details: www.glos.ac.uk/business-and-partnerships