Newcomers gear up for major growth spurt

February 10, 2006

A mini jobs boom is imminent as England's newest universities take forward development schemes to reap the full benefits of their enhanced status.

The combined growth planned by the eight former higher education colleges that gained a university title last year will create the equivalent of another small university over the next nine years.

Between them they propose to spend more than £230 million on new buildings to provide facilities and accommodation for about 10,000 more students as they strengthen provision and move into new subject areas.

At least 100 academic jobs will be created in the next five years, funded largely by expected growth in student fee income.

The biggest physical development is planned by Worcester University. It announced last month that it had selected architects to create a new academic and cultural quarter in Worcester.

David Green, the university's vice-chancellor, said the £90 million development would help Worcester expand student numbers by 4,000 over the next six years and would create 50 new academic and support jobs in psychology, digital media, sports and biomechanics, life sciences, nursing and midwifery.

Chester University aims to take on 12 new academics and four support staff in law and the creative and performing arts in the next two years as it develops its Chester and Warrington campuses.

Liverpool Hope University will be looking for at least 12 professors in the next year - in the creative and performing arts, social sciences, education and humanities as it invests in new facilities.

Bath Spa, Chichester, Winchester, Northampton and Southampton Solent universities are also planning for modest growth over the next few years.

Northampton anticipates student numbers rising by 2,500 by 2010.

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