Mark Mabey tells the BBC’s Paul Stainton that University Centre Peterborough has more places available on a wider range of degree courses, and they have a £1500 bursary for local students wishing to study and live at home. Broadcast at 07:11 on Tuesday June 29th 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
PAUL: We’ll start with some good news this morning. An extra two hundred students are to be studying for degrees in Peterborough this year. University Centre Peterborough which is part of Anglia Ruskin University has been given extra funds from the Government. Mary Mabey is the Executive Director at University Centre Peterborough. Morning Mark.
MARK: Morning Paul. How are you?
PAUL: I’m quite shocked by this. It’s a good news story but extra money from the Government? What pitchers have you got?
MARK: Yes it’s good news for once. We get lots of news about cuts and fewer resources available but we’ve been awarded two hundred full time places here at University Centre Peterborough. That will most probably mean that we can take about four hundred people in total on full time or part time courses. That’s great news for us.
PAUL: Was it blackmail. or did they just think you were great?
MARK: No there was no bribery. I think they recognised that there was potential growth and a need for more higher education in Peterborough. We’re just about to have a big campaign raising the profile of University Centre Peterborough, and we’re really keen that people should come along and have a look at the Centre.
PAUL: So you’ve got this money. How are you going to use it?
MARK: We’ve got a number of new programmes that we’re about to launch. They were validated a couple of weeks ago. We’ve got one in Crime and Investigative Studies, one in Sports Coaching, one in Public Services and one in Teaching Science, so we’re really looking to get students involved in that area. And we also run a big Journalism course, a degree in Journalism, so …
PAUL: Well if you need any help on that Mark, if you need any help on the journalism side of things, I can put you in touch with some journalists.
MARK: You’re on. That’s wonderful. Perhaps you might like to come along and teach on it.
PAUL: (LAUGHS) Well maybe I will. It depends what the money’s like.
MARK: As much as you get paid.
PAUL: It’s got to be better than it is here, surely. We’ll talk later. Sshhh. The boss might be listening. (THEY LAUGH) So how many extra students are you expecting then?
MARK: We’ve got the funding for two hundred full time students, but we’re expecting a number of part time students as well. So we will have most probably six hundred and fifty students studying on the campus.
PAUL: Well that’s brilliant news because we were all doom and gloom about universities weren’t we? We were all expecting that there’d be less places, less teachers, less courses.
MARK: Yes it’s interesting. We’re one of only nine institutions in the whole country to get these additional places. So it’s great for Peterborough, particularly young people that maybe are thinking of going to university we’ve also got a fifteen hundred pound bursary, so if people are thinking well I’m not sure university is for me, why don’t they just give us a call and it could be for them.
PAUL: How do you qualify for the bursary?
MARK: Any person who lives in Peterborough is entitled to the bursary.
PAUL: Right. Ok. Good stuff. So anybody can apply for it and then it’s means-tested, or ..?
MARK: No it’s not means-tested, no. Anybody can apply for it. It’s not means-tested. we’ve got certain entry requirements but they’re not traditional A levels. We’l take students that have got NVQs and more vocational qualifications on to the programme.
PAUL: Yes. Where do you expect most of the new students to come from. Are you hopeful they’ll be local people?
MARK: Yes Paul we really are. Perhaps you know when the A level results come out we have a process called clearing. That brings national students, but we’re really keen that we should fill these places with students from Peterborough. I think it has been quite tough for many students who don’t want to move away or can’t afford to move away. But with the additional places we hope that people in Peterborough will come to University Centre.
PAUL: Yes. And the old chestnut, it’s alright having University Centre Peterborough under Anglia Ruskin’s banner. How far away are we from getting a Peterborough university? Is it a short term goal or a long term aspiration?
MARK: Well I think it’s a medium term aspiration Paul. That’s a good political answer.
PAUL: Well done! That fence must be comfortable.
MARK: (LAUGHS) You have to reach a certain critical mass of numbers before you can apply for university status. And we’ve got the plan to get to a thousand in three years. And that will be the time when we’ll go for taught-degree awarding powers and university status.
PAUL: That’ll be great. Three years time hopefully then?
MARK: Yes and it’ll be great for Peterborough. I’ve only been down here for three weeks, but I think it’s a fantastic place, and a real great opportunity.
PAUL: It’s brilliant news this morning for the young people of Peterborough that there are two hundred extra places available at University Centre Peterborough this year. Because we were all expecting it to be the reverse. Absolutely brilliant news. Mark, thank you for coming on this morning. Appreciate that. Mark Mabey Executive Director at University Centre Peterborough.