A ceremonial spade in the ground event has marked the start of construction of ARU Peterborough, the city’s new £30 million university.
The project is being driven by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, in collaboration with Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).
The ambition for ARU Peterborough is to launch a job creating, employment-focused university that will deliver courses targeted specifically towards industries across Peterborough where demand currently outstrips availability of skilled workers.
The project is backed by over £24.8 million of funding, including £12.3m of capital investment from the Combined Authority, £12.5m of Local Growth Funding and £1.6m in land investment from Peterborough County Council.
The employment-focused university is on track to open in 2022 and will boost the skills, training and employment prospects of people in Peterborough and the surrounding region and increase the number of skilled workers available to local businesses.
ARU Peterborough is set to open in September 2022 with 2,000 students, with numbers projected to rise to 5,000 by 2025 and 12,500 by 2030.
In the first five years after opening, ARU Peterborough is forecast to create an initial 170 university jobs and 300 supply chain jobs, in addition to 50 temporary construction jobs while ARU Peterborough is being built.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “Breaking the ground on the site is a huge milestone in the first phase of development for our ambitious employment-focused university that will be transformational for the city and wider region.
“Today is a reminder of just how far we have come on a journey that will drastically improve the prospects of people in Peterborough and across the region while boosting the number of skilled workers available to businesses.
“This is just phase one of this ambitious project which we hope to see delivered in its entirety by 2030.
“I am looking forward to seeing the building work progress over the coming months, as well as the development of our other huge plans for this university.”
Leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich said: “As a council, investment in making our city a great place to live, work and relax is of the utmost importance. The Fletton Quays development is progressing apace and we’ve been working hard to transform our city centre, with further key areas for regeneration including the Station Quarter, North Westgate and Northminster. The university will complement these transformative developments, helping to change the perception of our city and making a huge impact on Peterborough’s economy and in our civic and cultural life for many years to come.
“It will also bring immeasurable benefits for our residents, for people across the wider region, for our businesses and for Peterborough as a whole – both now and for generations to come.”
Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, said: “This is another significant step forward for ARU Peterborough, coming so soon after planning permission was granted.
“The ARU Peterborough project is now accelerating at pace and in less than two years’ time this new university, with its fantastic city centre location, will be providing life-changing opportunities for residents.
“We are already in discussions with local businesses to make sure that the courses on offer will provide the right skills and qualifications to help generate economic growth across the city and the wider region. This is an exciting time for ARU Peterborough and, most importantly, for the city of Peterborough.”
PHOTO: From left to right, Professor Roderick Watkins, Mayor James Palmer and Councillor John Holdich mark the start of construction of ARU Peterborough