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Dragons' Den winner to give keynote speech at opening of University's Escalate Centre

16 April 09

The University of Bradford will officially open its Escalate Centre on Thursday, 23 April, 2009 where Imran Hakim, 2006 winner of Dragons' Den will give a keynote speech.

The University of Bradford received £5 million to set up the Escalate Initiative from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), who in collaboration with Yorkshire Forward, have assisted with setting up the initiative. The Escalate Centre will benefit the region by improving employee learning  and by encouraging employers to engage with the University to ensure that their staff have the skills they need to succeed in the global economy.

The centre will be officially opened by Trevor Higgins, BT Partnership Director and Chair of the Bradford Employment and Skills Board. He said: "The Escalate Centre is part of an exciting raft of initiatives within the Escalate Programme designed to enable employers to access the wealth of expertise at the university, with the specific objective of upskilling the workforce which is a major focus area for the Bradford Employment and Skills Board."

The launch, which is aimed at employers within the region, will showcase the new Escalate Centre, a flexible multi-functional space within the heart of the university campus, designed specifically for employee learners and their employers.

Director of the Escalate Programme, Celia Moran, said: "Recent government reports suggest that we have a growing skills imbalance within the UK and employers will struggle to find sufficient highly qualified staff to support their organisations in maintaining competitive advantage. There is an urgent need to encourage mature employees back into learning, especially for the development of 'higher level skills' and employers have a big part to play in this.

"The breadth of learning here at the University is very impressive, and we aim to ensure that employers within the region have greater access to that expertise.  We will work with employers to build programmes of learning which really meet their needs, both in content and delivery flexibility. Together we can bridge this emerging skills gap and ensure that people employed within the region have easy access to higher level skills and that the local economy thrives."

To attend the event, please email Kate Daley:

16 April 09

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Further information for Media Enquirers

For further information please contact the University of Bradford Press Office on 01274 23 3089/3084.

Out of office hours call 07879 437996. Alternatively, e-mail or fax on (01274) 236280.