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Temple Quarter Newsletter: January (Bristol Arena, new developments, Venturefest 2017)

Marjorie Newnham

Happy new year! The past month has been extremely busy in the Enterprise Zone: planning permission has been granted for Phase IV of Paintworks, HMRC have signed an agreement for 3 Glass Wharf and Cattle Market Road has reopened. Last week, it was also announced that the Bristol Arena is now planned for 2020 as a result of the council parting ways with preferred contractor Bouygues UK. We've also taken the opportunity to speak to TCN about their creative workspaces at Temple Studios and Bristol & Exeter House. And, as always, scroll to the bottom of this email for some quick updates, upcoming events and new opportunities. 

Bristol Arena planned for 2020 as council parts ways with preferred tenderer
It was announced last week that, although Bristol City Council has chosen not to progress to a main building contract with Bouygues UK, the project is still going ahead and should be finished by autumn 2020. The council is now actively exploring other options to construct the arena as quickly as possible; the full statement relating to the decision is available on our website

HMRC set to become one of Bristol’s largest employers
Towards the end of last year, HMRC announced that it had formally signed an agreement to lease a building at 3 Glass Wharf for 25 years. With plans to move 1,250 staff from across the organisation to this site, this means that it will become one of Bristol's largest employers - right in the heart of the Enterprise Zone. Find out more on our website

Paintwork Phase IV gets planning permission
On 21 December 2016, Bristol City Council granted planning permission to Phase IV of Paintworks. This phase will see demolition of the Endemol building and partial demolition of building 6, making way for 4 new buildings and public space. These will provide 1,887 square metres of commercial space and 92 residential units, including affordable housing. You can find out more about the development on the Paintworks website

Engine Shed Briefing: Scaling up Inclusively, 24 February
In partnership with the RSA, Engine Shed's first briefing in 2017 will explore how the city region can deliver on the national scale-up agenda while being inclusive and contributing to strengthening its social fabric and resilience. Speakers include Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, and Irene Graham, CEO of the Scale Up Institute. Tickets are free and available online.

Venturefest 2017
Speakers have been confirmed for the launch of Venturefest Bristol and Bath, which will take place on 3 February at Future Space, UWE. Sandra Baer, President of Personal Cities, and Ian Miekle from Innovate UK will start the day, leading into two plenary sessions made up of four speakers and a panel Q&A. Other keynote speakers include Alex Gluhak from Digital Catapult and Paul Williams of Nokia. A drinks reception will follow, and the seminars will run alongside a Smart City Marketplace and Silicon Gorge investor pitching. More information is available on the Venturefest website

Quick updates

The world would be $1.1 trillion richer if it treated its young people more like Germany does

Marjorie Newnham

Just 10% of people aged 20-24 are out of work or not in school in Germany. As befits Germany’s reputation for efficiency and industrial success, this is one of the lowest levels in the world. If all 35 OECD countries reduced youth unemployment to German levels, the economic gain would be $1.1 trillion, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Switzerland ranks top in PwC’s “Young Workers Index,” which compares eight different measures of employment and education. Germany comes second. The US is number 10 on the list and the UK is 21st. Southern Europeans have fared the worst, showing the long-lasting impact that the financial crisis and European debt crisis have had on young people there. Italy came in last on the index, where 35% neither have jobs nor are in school. If Italy improved to Germany’s level, its GDP could increase by $156 billion, the report said. A separate report published last week showed that one in 10 Italians under 34 are living in poverty.

Table can be seen here

Why do countries like Germany and Switzerland perform so much better? Their governments run “dual educational systems” that incorporate vocational training into formal education to better prepare young people for jobs–businesses also actively target young people. In Germany a Vocational Training Act has provided 500,000 company-based training contracts a year. Finally, Germany and Switzerland recruit people from a wider variety of economic backgrounds by reducing informal hiring and the use of qualifications as a filter in the recruitment process.

The PwC report highlights the UK, where 17% of young people aren’t in work, school or training. If that fell to 10%, Britain could add £45 billion ($65 billion) to its economic growth, or 2.3% of GDP, the report said. Part of the problem in the UK is the social stigma attached to vocational training; apprenticeships aren’t considered valid career paths. This has helped create a gap between the skills the UK needs and the ones its young people have. Between 2005 and 2010, 59% of graduates were in jobs that didn’t require a degree.

The UK government is trying to fix this problem and wants apprenticeships to have the same social and legal value as a university degree. It plans to boost the number of new apprenticeships by 3 million by 2020. Countries at the top of PwC’s index also had the highest GDP per capita. But it doesn’t come cheap. These same countries spend the most on education.

University of Bristol announces pioneering new scheme to tackle social mobility

Marjorie Newnham

The University of Bristol is launching a pioneering new scheme today to help ensure local school pupils have an equal opportunity to realise their academic potential, irrespective of their background.

The Russell Group university will be making lower offers to five ‘high potential’ students from every school in the local area.

Bristol Scholars is the first initiative of its kind in the country and comes at a time when top universities have faced calls to improve social mobility.

It is being launched by MP Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, at St Bede’s Catholic College in Bristol.

The University is running the scheme in partnership with Bristol Learning City. Learning can transform life chances and reduce inequality – of significance in a city where one in four children lives in poverty.

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, said:

“We want to recruit the most able students, regardless of their background.

“These are bold measures designed to address a problem that is seen across the education sector. At Bristol, we have spent £18 million on recruiting and supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the last 10 years, and much as we are making good progress, we want to make a step change in opening up our University to students from all backgrounds.

“We’re confident that, in time, we will achieve a more diverse student community at the University of Bristol; this will be a change which will benefit everyone, and something we hope other universities will consider replicating.”

Every school or college in Bristol which offers post-16 qualifications is able to nominate five students who demonstrate high potential. They will then receive a reduced, guaranteed offer for the course they wish to study.

Eligibility for the scheme will be based on head teachers’ assessment of potential and progress, rather than examination results alone.

Priority will be given to students who have overcome educational or domestic disadvantage and meet a range of widening participation criteria such as being the first in their family to attend university, being part of the Free School Meals cohort, living in care or being a young carer.

In addition to a guaranteed offer, the University will offer academic and pastoral support to the scholars, plus financial support for those whose household income is below £25,000. There will be ongoing research to track the success of the scheme, which will in turn influence future admissions policies.

The initiative has been developed with schools and colleges in Bristol, which are all part of the Bristol Learning City partnership. Thirty-nine Year 13 students are taking part in a pilot scheme, ahead of starting their studies at the University in September 2017.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“Bristol’s Learning City partners share a vision of Bristol as a place where people are proud to learn and where everyone has an opportunity to be successful. In becoming a fairer city we must reach a place where opportunities in life are not defined by your background or economic circumstances.

“The new Bristol Scholars scheme is a positive step in a better direction. I hope it will create fresh opportunities and open doors to some of our more disadvantaged students, helping them to realise their full potential.”

Elisabeth Gilpin, head teacher of St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, said:

“I am delighted that the University of Bristol is recognising and supporting the talents of students in our great city.  There are so many highly intelligent students in state schools who are achieving excellent results with the good teaching that is available to them.

“It makes sense for Bristol to hold onto this talent and encourage these talented young people to study closer to home, providing the nurture and encouragement that young people need to take that next step and make their dreams a reality.  This is a win/win strategy for the students, the University, the schools and our city.”

Marbel Chawatama, an 18-year-old A-Level student from St Bede’s Catholic College, has been nominated as a Bristol Scholar and will start a Law degree in September if she gets the required grades. She moved to Bristol from Zimbabwe seven years ago.

Marbel said:

“I was honoured to find out I’d been nominated to be a Bristol Scholar. I know a lot of people want to go to the University of Bristol but don’t get the opportunity. I felt really blessed.

“I’m looking forward to developing as an adult at university, because it will give me the opportunity to experience life and have more independence.”

To tackle social mobility on a national scale, Bristol will also be making greater use of contextual data – meaning the applicants’ school will be taken into account when offers are made.

Those attending ‘aspiring’ state schools or colleges – defined as those in the lowest 40 per cent of schools and colleges in England and Wales based on A-level results and the number of students applying to higher education – will receive offers two grades lower than the standard offer.

Bristol currently makes contextual offers one grade lower, based on previous research which has demonstrated that students who entered the University from lower performing schools with A-Level grades one grade below normal requirements went on to perform at the same level as students admitted from higher performing schools.

Diversifying the student population is a key aim of the University’s new strategy, which was launched last month.

Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, said:

“I am delighted to see the University of Bristol working in such an innovative way to improve its diversity. With the Bristol Scholars scheme, the University is building on a history of innovation in its fair access work.

“All over the country, universities are working with schools in many ways to find and nurture pupils’ potential. But there is still a long way to go before everyone who has the potential to go to university has equal chance to do so, and the Government has set ambitious goals around this. So I would like to see more universities thinking creatively about how they support talented young people.”

Arne Carlsen, Director of UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning, said:

“Learning Cities take the lead in developing inclusive sustainable growth through a commitment to lifelong learning. This is taking place through our network in the UK and abroad. Today, Bristol and Swansea – tomorrow, more cities of the future.”

New £300 million campus will transform Temple Quarter

Marjorie Newnham

Plans for the University of Bristol’s ‘transformational’ new campus have been unveiled, with the £300 million project to sit at the heart of the city’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

The Temple Quarter Campus will be built near Bristol Temple Meads train station on the derelict former sorting office site and will be at the heart of one of the largest urban regeneration projects in the UK, giving the prime city centre site a new lease of life.

It’s hoped the campus will open in time for the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Temple Quarter Campus is a unique collaboration between the University, Bristol City Council, Government, industry and philanthropic partners, and the local business community that will build on the city’s enviable reputation for high-tech and digital innovation.

Not only will it provide an important catalyst for UK economic growth, job creation and opportunities for Bristol’s communities but it will secure the University’s future growth for generations to come.

Central to the vision for the new campus are a Digital Innovation Hub, a ‘business school of the future’, a student residential village and Engine Shed 2 – an expansion of the successful Engine Shed enterprise hub which houses the award-winning SETsquared business incubator.

All-new degree programmes will be designed and developed in collaboration with industry partners to ensure students educated on the Temple Quarter Campus are equipped to create, lead and work successfully in the industries of tomorrow.

Research and teaching on this new, future-focused campus will concentrate on the interfaces between disciplines – for example, where business education meets technology and between the University and society at large – to create social, economic and technological innovations of scale and impact.

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, said:

“This is an historic moment for the University of Bristol and for the city-region. This new initiative is, I believe, truly unique: a dynamic partnership between the University, industry and the city, located in an enterprise zone and major transport hub and offering the opportunity to position Bristol as a global leader in digital and educational innovation.

“We now have the opportunity to re-imagine our University as an organisation that is completely porous with our partners, enabling students, researchers and people from all walks of life to move seamlessly between the city, the academy and the workplace, feeding the talent pipeline and creating opportunities.”

Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone is one of the most successful Enterprise Zones in the country and is home to rapidly growing clusters of businesses in the creative, digital, hi-tech and low carbon sectors.

Fully developed, the 70 hectare Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone has the potential to attract over 17,000 jobs over its 25 year lifetime and add a further £100 million a year to the city’s economy.

A new 12,000 capacity arena is planned for the former Diesel Depot site close to the station which, coupled with the proposed university campus on the former sorting office site, will transform Temple Meads East bringing life to an area that has lain derelict for decades.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said:

“This news confirms our place as the UK’s most technologically advanced city-region and one of the world’s leading digital cities. The future of UK industry relies on an ability to innovate and lead in the digital and technological sectors, but of course this must be built on the foundations of a stronger, fairer society which provides equal opportunity to everyone.

“With this partnership we are seizing an opportunity, bringing partners together in new ways and connecting local people, businesses, academics and students both to each other and to a vast range of future opportunities. This will also attract more investment to the city, strengthen our global reputation and create a welcoming and inclusive new part of the thriving Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. As a UNESCO Learning City we can also be proud to expand our educational offer in this way.

“The deal also gives us renewed hope of a solution to the eyesore of the former Sorting Office. In future, visitors will no longer be welcomed to Bristol by a derelict building, but by a flourishing and inclusive home of digital excellence, innovation, education and industry.”

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

“Our forthcoming Industrial Strategy is committed to creating highly skilled and versatile workforces in all areas of the UK. The development of this exceptional new campus for University of Bristol is a brilliant example of this Strategy in action, with government, academia and industry collaborating to deliver future-focused training that will build on Bristol’s growing reputation as a digital and tech cluster.”

The new campus follows the successful collaboration between the University and Bristol City Council to establish Engine Shed. The enterprise hub opened in 2013 and contributed £7 million to the economy within 12 months of opening. In that time it has supported 72 companies through the Bristol SETsquared Centre, which have raised £76 million and created 410 jobs.

A university experience that supports and fosters enterprise is a high priority as 30 per cent of University of Bristol students hope to become entrepreneurs after leaving university.

One of the University’s leading industry partners is Oracle. With more than 420,000 customers and deployments in more than 145 countries, Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications, platform services, and engineered systems.

Phil Bates, Leader of Oracle’s Bristol cloud development centre, said:

“Oracle is delighted to be part of this unique development, which will bring together one of the world’s best universities with industry and the city.

“This new initiative will ensure we have the talent pipeline industry needs, and also that researchers in academia and industry can work side-by-side, co-creating new technologies with students and future users and bringing new ideas to fruition.”

New partnership to boost the City’s business and education sectors announced

Marjorie Newnham

New partnership to boost the City’s business and education sectors announced

City of Bristol College and Engine Shed have announced a new partnership to support further education working even closer with businesses in Bristol. The collaboration will allow City of Bristol College staff free access to the Engine Shed Business Lounge; conveniently located between their campuses and next to Bristol Temple Meads station.

Lee Probert, City of Bristol College Principal and Chief Executive said about the new partnership:

“This partnership allows us to cultivate our excellent relationship with the employer hub that’s around the Temple Quarter. As part of the Learning City, our focus is to continue our close working relationships with Bristol employers, engaging them in curriculum development to ensure that we’re meeting their needs, filling the skills gap and giving our students the skills they need to progress”.

Nick Sturge, Director of Engine Shed, added:

“Having City of Bristol College here is an invitation to businesses to engage more easily with apprenticeship provision and find out about the talented young people across the City who can add so much creativity to the workforce. We welcome the staff from the College to enjoy the collaborative environment we’ve created here where business, education, policy-makers and investors are working under the same roof.”

Other Engine Shed members include University of Bristol, University of the West of England, University of Bath, Bath Spa University, Bristol Media, Institute of Directors (IOD), WebStart Bristol companies, Business West Initiative, RSA fellows, GWR, Temple Studios companies, SETsquared Bristol virtual members and SETsquared Bath companies.

For more information about employer opportunities at City of Bristol College visit:

Bristol winner of Innovate UK infocus awards: Dr Becky Sage

Marjorie Newnham

Bristol winner of Innovate UK infocus awards: Dr Becky Sage

Innovate UK recently announced the winners of their inaugural round of infocus awards, an initiative seeking to support inspiring female entrepreneurs. The awards covered 12 different sectors, from digital health to drone systems, and each of the 15 winners will receive £50,000 and a tailored business support package.

The winner of the category for Enabling and Emerging Technologies, working within the ed tech sector, was Bristol’s own Dr Becky Sage, CEO of Interactive Scientific (iSci). She scooped the award for her company’s latest product, Nano Simbox.

The company: Interactive Scientific

iSci was established in 2013 and now employs 10 people. Its aim is to develop digital experiences that use artistic visualisations to connect humans to the invisible scientific world that exists all around us. Previous work includes the development of danceroom Spectroscopy, a digital experience combining the seemingly unrelated worlds of dance and physics, which has been used by over 100,000 people around the world.

The winner: Dr Becky Sage

Dr Becky Sage

Dr Sage trained as a scientist (she has a first class honours Chemical Physics MSci and a PhD in Chemistry), but quickly became disillusioned by the lack of diversity and good working practice in scientific research environments. One of the driving factors of her work is her belief that the barriers between science research and the majority of people are too high, and that science needs to be democratised for the benefit of our future society.

The product: Nano Simbox

Nano Simbox is an interactive tool that puts the dynamic world of wiggling and jiggling atoms and molecules into the hands of students. It is a manifestation of its creators’ vision for the classroom and research lab of the future, helping to explore big scientific concepts such as climate change, antimicrobial resistance, photosynthesis, biological molecules and fundamental chemistry and physics.

Through allowing students to play with particles and observe their behaviour under different conditions and in different simulated contexts, students’ science learning is enhanced and their scientific curiosity and creativity is developed in an exciting and inclusive way. The tool is currently under development and a teaser app will be released at BETT in January 2017, with the full platform then launching for a limited number of schools in autumn. Some school workshops are currently being planned, and the details will be available on Nano Simbox’s website soon.

On Twitter: @NanoSimbox@Becky_sage
On the web: http://nanosimbox.com

Bristol businesses invited to help shape the skills of future workforce

Marjorie Newnham

Bristol businesses invited to help shape the skills of future workforce

Local businesses are being called on to join a new collaboration between Bristol’s employers, learning providers and young people to help develop a skilled local workforce.

Led by Bristol Learning City, WORKS will offer a new way to bridge the skills gap between education and employment, offering local businesses a way to help shape the city’s future employees.

WORKS was launched on Friday with local employers and learning providers at an event hosted by Clarke Willmott, a Learning City partner, with keynote speeches from Bouygues UK and Bristol Metropolitan Academy.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“Providing a variety of opportunities for young people to experience work is essential if we are to make the most of the talent in this city – we know that the more experiences young people have, the more employable they are. We want to inspire young people and raise their aspirations, by engaging local employers and schools to ensure all young people have access to a high quality experience.

“One of my manifesto pledges is to deliver experience of work and the opportunity of an apprenticeship for every young person who wants one. WORKS, through a model of collaborative working, is one way we can make this happen. We make this offer as a city. We should guarantee all young people experiences of work as a city standard.”

WORKS will connect SME and large employers, learning providers and young people. It will operate in a number of key ways, including; encouraging local employers to get involved in different ways; by organising networking opportunities and ways to share good practice; and by helping young people to build up an e-skills portfolio to showcase their skills to future employers.

As well as connecting young people, employers and education providers virtually, WORKS will also be delivered across the city in work places and community venues able to host events. Initially, particular focus will be given to the growing technology and construction industries where there is a national and local skills shortage.

Karl Brown, Senior Associate at Clarke Willmott, said:

“As one of many partners in the city to contribute to Bristol becoming the first UNESCO Learning City in England, at Clarke Willmott we are passionate about the WORKS concept. Bringing together employers and learning providers to co-ordinate, support and increase the experiences of work available to Bristol’s young people is something that will benefit us all. We are wholly behind WORKS and would encourage other local businesses to find out how they could get involved to offer opportunities.”

Lee Probert, Principal at City of Bristol College, said:

“We want to help young people locally to stand out from the crowd; to build the confidence, skills and experience they need to get and keep good jobs in our city. We encourage our students to aim high and this new way of working together has great potential to create new, exciting opportunities for all young people in Bristol.”

Local employers that can offer experiences of work, mentoring or would like a discussion about taking on apprentices are encouraged to email:

For more information, visit: