'We need to do more to help graduates build careers Here in Cornwall'

February 9, 2007

Ian Tunbridge will champion higher education in his role as head of Combined Universities in Cornwall.

Cornwall has never had a traditional university, but is does now have a dedicated champion of higher education in the region with the appointment of Ian Tunbridge as executive director of Combined Universities in Cornwall.

To promote university-level education in Cornwall, the CUC has been given a total of £120 million from local authorities, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the local regional development agency. The CUC partnership comprises nine universities and colleges that provide higher education for some 5,000 students at a dozen campuses across the peninsula.

Dr Tunbridge, who is from Cornwall, said: "Looking ahead, we need to focus on maximising the CUC's contribution to Cornwall's future prosperity and the creation of a high-wage economy.

"That means growing the kind of world-class academic research that will act as a magnet for investment; it means helping Cornwall's businesses to succeed in today's knowledge-based economy and doing more to help graduates build careers in Cornwall."

He said the CUC would also work closely with schools and colleges to help encourage students into higher education.

As dean of the faculty of University of Plymouth Colleges, Dr Tunbridge was the key force behind the UPC network, which helps some 5,000 people across the South West access university courses through their local college.

He gained a PhD in sedimentology at Reading University and worked for Shell UK before taking a post as a geology lecturer at Plymouth. He was brought up in east Cornwall, where he now lives with his wife and two children.

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Universities in most nations are now obliged to prioritise graduate career prospects, but how it should be approached depends on your view of the meaning of education. Academics need to think that through much more clearly, says Tom Cutterham


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