Earlier this week I had the privilege of speaking to the International Town and Gown network hosted by Stellenbosch University about our local engagement strategy here at Bath. While it would have been lovely to have been able to visit South Africa in person, clearly due to the pandemic this wasn't possible and Zoom had to suffice!
The Town and Gown network is made up of a number of universities which are all located in small, compact cities, so have a lot of similarities to us here in Bath, SO this was a fantastic opportunity to hear from other universities about their ongoing local engagement work and to learn from their experiences.
The event was focused on how universities were supporting skills development post-COVID-19 in their local areas, and I had the pleasure of sharing our collaborations with the Bath Digital Festival's Skills Exchange, our plans for the ISTART project, the extensive skills development and small business nurturing work done by SETSquared Bath and our Innovation Centre, and our ongoing support and conversations with our local authority's skills teams.
Queen's University Belfast and Lund University in Sweden also shared their initiatives, which included the provision of evening classes and short courses for local populations, and the establishment of skills development programmes in collaboration with other local suppliers.
It was a pleasure to be able to share the activities we have undertaken here at Bath with colleagues around the world, and I was able to reflect on how much we have achieved in the face of adversity since the pandemic began. That said, the event also highlighted to me how much more we could do, and with skills and education firmly on the agenda as we develop our Civic University Agreement we hope to be able to explore and expand our activities over future months.
- Katrina and the civic engagement team.