What is Next Steps Cornwall?
Next Steps Cornwall is a partnership of six universities and colleges working together to give more people the chance to study in Cornwall, and to use university level education to help our businesses and communities to thrive.
The partners are:
- Falmouth University
- The Cornwall College Group
- University of Exeter
- Plymouth University
- Truro & Penwith College
Each of these partners brings something different to Next Steps, which means more choice for the people and businesses of Cornwall.
What does Next Steps do?
Next Steps brings the six partner universities and colleges together wherever working in partnership will have more impact than a single university or college going it alone. Next Steps’ biggest achievement so far has been to draw in over £260 million from the European Commission and UK Government to transform university education in the county - something it could only achieve by presenting a joined up plan.
Why was Next Steps created?
In the past one of Cornwall's most serious challenges has been the annual exodus of young people leaving the area because it was not possible for them to study their favoured subjects close to home. Very few of these people returned to live and work in Cornwall, dividing families and making it hard for local businesses to recruit skilled, creative young people.
There is also a huge demand for part-time or work-based university-level courses from potential mature students in Cornwall who want to enhance their career prospects or pursue their subject interests.
Next Steps is playing a key role in the transformation of Cornwall's economy. According to an independent study commissioned by Next Steps, the initiative will create more than 4000 jobs by the year 2025. Spending by students and staff is also providing a welcome boost to the local economy.
In the years ahead the combined effect of a larger graduate workforce, expert support for local businesses and the creation of new businesses as a result of academic research will play a very major role in the development of the kind of knowledge-based economy which can ensure Cornwall's future prosperity.
Is Next Steps a university?
No, it is a partnership made up of existing universities and colleges. Next Steps itself does not have students or buildings, nor does it have the power to award degrees.
Will Next Steps become the University for Cornwall?
Working in partnership through Next Steps has already brought the universities and colleges in Cornwall closer together. Institutional changes have happened throughout the life of Next Steps (examples include the merger of Truro College and Penwith College, the merger between University College Falmouth and Dartington College of Arts - now Falmouth University, or the creation of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry) and may continue to happen in the future. However, the Next Steps partnership is not currently working on any plans to develop a University of Cornwall; Next Steps remains a partnership of six independent providers of higher education.
Who runs Next Steps?
The Next Steps partners do. A Steering Group sets out the big picture and an Executive Group is responsible for delivering on the partnership's plans. Both groups are made up of senior managers from the partner universities and colleges. There is also a small Next Steps Partnership Support Team which works on behalf of the partners.
Where does Penryn fit with Next Steps?
Penryn is the biggest of twelve campuses in Cornwall offering university level education. The size of its buildings and the number of people studying there make the Penryn Campus look and feel a lot like a traditional university. Not surprisingly, many people tend to think that Next Steps and Penryn are one and the same thing, or that Penryn is 'the university'. In reality Penryn is a rare example of a shared campus, created by the University of Exeter and Falmouth University (both partners in Next Steps).
Are the Next Steps partners attracting local students?
Yes. The proportion of local students varies a lot from one campus to another. Around four out of five students on University of Plymouth accredited courses at Cornwall College and Truro & Penwith College are local people, although some specialist subjects draw people from much farther afield.
Local students account for around a quarter of people studying with the University of Exeter and Falmouth University at the Penryn Campus. These figures reflect the different kinds of courses on offer.
Are there jobs in Cornwall for the county's graduates?
Yes. Cornwall is changing. Businesses in Cornwall are increasingly looking to employ graduates to help them get ahead of the competition. Their education is also giving many graduates the skills and courage to start their own businesses in the county - some of which are already employers in their own right.
Next Steps has a very successful graduate placement scheme called Unlocking Potential (UP). Between 2004 and 2008 UP placed 234 graduates with small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall. Seven out of ten placements resulted in permanent jobs. The average starting salary for a graduate employed through UP in 2010 was £19,307. UP now has European Social Fund Convergence backing and is placing more gradates than ever before, despite the tough economic climate.
What do Next Steps do for businesses in Cornwall?
Working with business has been at the heart of the Next Steps mission from day one. Between them the Next Steps partner universities and colleges offer a wealth of specialist training and equipment, plus access to some world class experts and research.
The expansion of university-level education in Cornwall also means that employers can recruit from a pool of talented graduates in the county.
The Next Steps initiative has received investment from both ESF and ERDF Convergence, and their predecessor the Objective One Programme, the former South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.