Photo from left to right: Jesse Norman MP, Anthea McIntyre MEP, Prof Elena Rodriquez-Falcon, Angus Davison
“Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, the newly appointed Chief Executive of Herefordshire’s future university, was the guest speaker when Herefordshire Conservative Business Forum met at the Harewood End Inn.
The "New Model in Technology and Engineering" or NMiTE, will be the UK’s first new “greenfield” university in 40 years and will take its first students in September.
Prof Rodriguez-Falcon stressed the importance of producing engineering graduates who were work-ready, but she said it was not always effective to take companies into a university. At the new university, they would be taking students into the companies.
“Hereford will be at the heart of innovation in problem-based learning”, she said, with a focus on "hands on" challenges from a variety of companies.
Students would be working in flexible spaces, in groups and with customers, to understand, translate and apply their needs.
This she described as “disruptive education”, a new format for a University and a a partnership model eagerly which would be eagerly watched by universities everywhere.
Validation and affiliation for the courses will be through Warwick University and will offer a BSc course over 2 years and 2 months.
Jesse Norman, Conservative MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, also thanked Karen Usher for her contribution to the university project as co-team leader.
He called it an “astonishing project” and said: “We will not have such a project for the next 100 years. The...economic development of this rural community is dependent upon it.
"Cities with new universities have experienced greater economic growth. Growth of five to nine per cent. Universities bring cultural and social energy.
"In addition, a university acts as a beacon and will be producing enlightened engineers. Our Government has pledged £25 million to support this project. A fascinating and exciting opportunity for our county.
Anthea McIntyre, forum chairman and Conservative MEP for the West Midlands said: “The attendance and enthusiasm at the breakfast meeting demonstrated the enormous amount of support that there is across the community, and especially from the business community, for Elena and for the new University.
“This is a ground breaking project, not just for Herefordshire but for education as whole. We will be leading the way."