Kent and Medway Engineering Design Growth and Enterprise Hub (EDGE)
The Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub is a new 3,588m2 facility in Canterbury, with satellite facilities at Discovery Park and other parts of Kent. The project will support high value employment, growth and investment in engineering and technology businesses.
This scheme was developed by Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), which is expanding its STEM offer into new areas of engineering and technology critical to the regional economy. The hub includes:
- a new and dynamic range of industry relevant education opportunities (higher and degree apprenticeships, foundation degrees, undergraduate degrees, master’s and doctoral programmes) in engineering, product design and technology, with 1,250 highly skilled graduates joining the economy by 2024
- support for small businesses, larger companies, inventors and entrepreneurs to take prototypes to commercialisation, through new innovation services and research
- industry focused continuing professional development and short courses delivered on location in businesses or in new EDGE Hub facilities
- the creation of a new £65 million STEM facility, offering an immersive and professional learning environment that brings together a range of related disciplines; science, technology, health, engineering and medicine (the EDGE Hub will be located with the new Kent and Medway Medical School).
The scheme is a £21 million project to be delivered between 2017/18 and 2020/2021. The scheme is funded by £6.12 million of the Local Growth Fund, £7.9 million from Canterbury Christ Church University and £7 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
View all the documents in the planning application on the Canterbury City Council website.
This project is essential to Kent and Medway, by creating a long term and sustainable pipeline of highly skilled engineering and technology graduates into the regional workforce. The university has developed this new approach in partnership with businesses and industry in the south east.
It responds to the real and continuing need to plug the engineering and technology skills gap in Kent and Medway, by retaining graduates in the region and truly responding to local skills needs (from degree qualifications to higher degree apprenticeships).
Nationally, there is also an annual shortage of over 20,000 engineers (Engineering UK, 2019) and women make up only 12% of the engineering workforce.
To challenge the gender and national skills gap, the university aims to attract 35% women and 40% of new learners from less advantaged communities to its courses, strongly promoting equality and diversity in education and industry.
Christ Church is also removing barriers to success by taking away the need for A level physics, designing the engineering knowledge required as students learn.
The scheme objectives were to:
- create an additional 1,250 learners by 2024
- create 56 direct new university jobs by 2024 supporting growth in the local economy
- broaden the university’s STEM offer by using the facility to establish new higher- and degree-level courses
- develop a research project programme that responds to local employer and business needs
- develop a new Engineering and Technology Innovations Service to work with external partners
- deliver new engineering and technology-related research and consultancy and provide £825k in grants.
The decision by the SELEP Accountability Board to grant Local Growth Funding for the EDGE Hub was made on the 22 September 2017.
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The government Growth Deal provides money to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, funding projects which drive Kent’s economic and business growth.