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ARU Peterborough building reaches highest point

Published: 14 February 2022 at 15:30

ARU Peterborough Topping Out ceremony

Topping Out ceremony at the construction site of Peterborough’s new university

A ceremonial Topping Out event has marked construction of ARU Peterborough, the city’s new multi-million university, reaching its highest point.

The new university is being driven forward by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, in collaboration with Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

The celebration, attended by local press and key members of the project, marks an important moment in the journey of creating a new university for Peterborough.

An employment-focused university, ARU Peterborough will deliver courses targeted specifically towards industries across Peterborough where demand currently outstrips availability of skilled workers.

The project is backed by over £24.8 million of funding, including £12.3m of capital investment from the Combined Authority, £12.5m of Local Growth Funding and £1.6m in land investment from Peterborough County Council.

ARU Peterborough is on track to open to its first students in September this year. The university will boost the skills, training, and employment prospects of people in Peterborough and the surrounding region and increase the number of skilled workers available to local businesses.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said:
“I couldn’t be more delighted to see progress on a new university for Peterborough moving forward at breakneck speed.

“A new university for Peterborough focused on job creation will be key in bolstering opportunity and levelling up prosperity throughout the region.

“Today marks an important milestone and I’m proud of how far we have come on a journey that will drastically improve the prospects of people in Peterborough and across the region while boosting the number of skilled workers available to businesses.

“The university building is just the beginning, and we will also deliver new research and development facilities for the city and surrounding region by 2030, massively boosting the innovation potential of Peterborough.

“I am looking forward to seeing the building work progress over the coming months, as well as the development of our other huge plans for this university.”

Councillor Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and the university at Peterborough City Council, said: 
“This is an important milestone in the history of our city. The new university opening later this year will help us to close the skills gap we currently have in this city, improving the wages and prosperity of our residents and of the city as a whole.”

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, said: 
“From the outset, we have set out to deliver a purpose-built university with the right facilities and courses to increase opportunities for young people in and around Peterborough, which has long been a higher education ‘cold spot’.

“Thanks to the fantastic collaborative work with our partners – Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority – and the drive and determination of ARU Peterborough Principal Ross Renton and his team, the progress of the new university has exceeded all our expectations.

“We will be welcoming students into our first building in a little over six months’ time, the construction of the Manufacturing and Materials Research and Development Centre is well under way, and funding has been secured for the third phase, which will include a public science facility. These are truly exciting times for Peterborough.”

Al Kingsley, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Business Board, said:
“It’s brilliant to see such fantastic progress on the new University, which is supported with funding from the Business Board.

“ARU Peterborough will help fulfil the Business Board’s ambition to boost the economy by boosting skills, and creating higher skilled positions that will help to sustain businesses with a pipeline of local talent.”

ARU Peterborough aims to address skills deficits in the city and surrounding region, in what is described as a higher education ‘cold spot’. It aims to have a transformative and regenerative effect on the city and its surrounds, driving up aspiration and improving social mobility and prosperity, resulting in fewer inequalities and greater health and wellbeing.

The university is developing the curriculum in collaboration with local employers, to ensure that students are equipped with skills demanded in the economy.

As well as this, the phase 2 research and development and incubator space will support start-up and growing tech businesses. This aims to create a homegrown business innovation ‘ecosystem’ which further drives up the demand for skills coming out of the university.