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Your Alumni Association

Graduates of Bradford belong to an international community of more than 135,000 alumni spanning over 175 countries. This incredible network, the Bradford Alumni Association (AA), represents a powerful force for the good of the University and for alumni.

The AA, here to support and inspire you socially and professionally, is led by an elected Chair and a group of committed alumni volunteers, forming an Executive Committee which provides a voice for the Bradford alumni community whilst promoting ongoing connections between graduates, and with the University.

“We have a clear, simple strategy; a voice; a wealth of partnerships; and a vast resource of former students to tap into.” Terry Carroll, Chair

Message from the Chair

So much seems to have happened since I took over as Interim Chair of the Alumni Association (AA) in December 2016 and, now, I have the great honour to be chosen as permanent Chair for the next three years.

Professor Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor, gave a spellbinding presentation of the University’s ambitious strategic plan at that AGM. The University has been lucky to have him at the helm, following his resounding success at York; he chose Bradford despite a welter of offers elsewhere. We wish him well with his impending departure for Oxford.

As well as the exciting times ahead, there is no shortage of challenges for graduate associations in the 21st century. The funding arrangements for universities have changed and students themselves now pay the lion’s share. But they also graduate with an average of £50,000 debt. They should have a strong voice in Bradford and in Higher Education generally. We are your medium for participation. 

Economic times in the UK are still austere, some 10 years after the ‘Crash’. Millennials have suffered more than most. Tony Blair’s goal of 50% of young people going to university has debased the value of some degrees; led to falling standards and high unemployability in a range of chosen study fields; and has not solved the skills shortages, especially in science, technology and engineering. His own son, Euan, now recommends that many more young people should eschew a university place for an apprenticeship.

Terry Carroll, Alumni Association Chair

“The AA now has a rich partnership with the University and the Students’ Union. Wherever you are in the world, whatever you are doing, please participate, communicate with us and encourage any fellow Bradford graduates you know to do the same.”

But such thinking should place Bradford in the forefront of revolution. Being founded in the 1960s as one of the original technology universities, its first Chancellor was Harold Wilson with his prescient speech on the “white heat of technology”. So surely, in an era where ‘arts’ students have multiplied and yet struggled to find a vocational career, everyone from government, through policymakers and universities to parents, teachers and students, should be working towards transforming education to fit the booming demands in the very fields on which Bradford focuses, including business studies, health and medicine.

Otherwise, the forthcoming revolution in AI and robotics will confine even more graduates to the bin, or to services jobs in call centres, leisure and retail – unhappy, debt-ridden and unfulfilled.

So the University of Bradford and its AA should have a key and growing role to play if Britain is ever to rediscover its former economic glories. And the AA has an ‘open door’ to partnership both with the University and its graduates.

 

In this context, 2018 has been a most satisfying year for AA participation. As well as the Vice-Chancellor, we heard exciting AGM presentations from Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon and UBU Union Affairs Officer, Faiz Ilyas.

The latter has now confirmed that all AA members can maintain life membership of the Students’ Union for free, thereby strengthening and enriching a relationship we all started as students. Most exciting for me has been the rapidly growing participation and enrichment of the AA Committee, especially by younger members keen to contribute to both action and dialogue.

I hope in this brief note you may read and feel the passion I have for the future of our Association and the University from which we all graduated. There are great times ahead! So wherever you are in the world, whatever you are doing, please participate, read and discover what we are doing, communicate with us and encourage any fellow graduates you know to do the same. We are all members of the AA free, for life!