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UCLan's Importance to Regional Economy

Wednesday, 16th December 2015

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a financial powerhouse in Lancashire and the North West, according to a recently commissioned report.

Regeneris Report states that in 2013/14 UCLan:

  • Contributed over £200m to the North West economy
  • Was one of the largest employers in Preston and supported an estimated 4,300 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs in the North West through its core economic footprint and through the expenditure of students
  • With 36,160 students was the largest University in Lancashire and the third largest in the North West and 9th largest undergraduate population of all UK universities
  • Graduates add on average £24m to the North West economy per annum through increased skills and productivity

Newly published figures highlight the major economic impact the Preston based University has not only in the city but across the whole of the North West region.

During 2013/14 it contributed £200m to the North West economy and, through a range of economic effects, supported 4,300 full-time equivalent jobs across the region. In that time UCLan directly employed 3,290 staff, making it one of the largest employers in Preston.

The University, which also has UK campuses in Burnley and Westlakes, is an important contributor to the economy as a purchaser of local goods and services. In 2013/14 it spent £15 million on suppliers based throughout Lancashire and the wider North West area.

UCLan’s has the 9th largest undergraduate population of all UK universities and this large student population is a great asset to both the financial and academic power of the area. With 36,000 students it was the largest University in Lancashire and the third largest in the North West. The 18,390 full-time students residing in the North West spent a total of £210m throughout the region, with £155m of that being spent in the red rose county.UCLan is Lancashire’s largest provider of graduate level qualifications, supplying large numbers of highly skilled graduates into the workforce. Graduates in 2013/14 are expected to contribute an annual average of £24m to the North West and £15m to the Lancashire economy over their working lives. The figures also show the University educated one in every two students at higher education institutions in Lancashire, while 1% of all the county’s residents were enrolled at UCLan at any given time.

Produced by leading economic consultancy Regeneris Consulting, the report was commissioned as part of UCLan’s £200 million masterplan which will create a unified, sustainable and welcoming campus which will enhance the experience for all those visiting the University. The new campus will integrate seamlessly with the rest of the City, benefitting current and future generations of students, staff, visitors and the wider community.

Professor Mike Thomas, UCLan’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “We have known for a long time that the University has a positive impact on the local and regional economy, but to have this verified in this comprehensive report is fantastic news. We work very closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership and the report helps us understand how we can continue to maximise our local economic and social impacts as we implement the University’s strategy.

“As an ‘anchor institution’ within Preston, the University has a key stake in the future of the area and generates significant levels of spend and numbers of jobs. Importantly, we help bring talented people into the region and to Preston which brings additional benefits to the visitor economy."

Professor Thomas continued: “Combined with the implementation of the Masterplan and the redevelopment of our campus we’ll also be creating more jobs. However, the University’s focus is ensuring the region has a talented and skilled labour pool so it can compete on a global level. Alongside other universities in the region, we are making an important contribution to increasing skills and sharing our knowledge with organisations to ensure they develop a competitive edge creating additional employment.”

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, of which UCLan is a member, said: “UCLan’s contribution to the economy of Preston, Lancashire and the North West as a whole cannot be underestimated.

“To have one of the country’s best universities situated at the heart of our capital city is yet another reason for Prestonians to be such a proud group of people.

“To see this backed up by such strong figures in terms of economic footprint, employment figures and GVA is very pleasing.

“And we are well aware that the contribution of UCLan is only going to increase with the ongoing redevelopment, the results of which I cannot wait to see.”

Tim Fanning, at Regeneris Consulting, added: “Our report shows that UCLan is making a very strong contribution to the local and regional economy. As one of a small number ‘anchor institutions’ in Preston, its contribution is especially important.

“UCLan also makes a strong contribution to providing the skills of local priority sectors, especially within the areas of health and social care. A range of developments planned for the coming years will bring opportunities for this role to be enhanced.”

The full Regeneris report, entitled ‘The Socio Economic Contribution of the University of Central Lancashire in Lancashire and the North West’ is available to download here.  Find out more about the UCLan Campus Masterplan.

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