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Council set to team up with University in new partnership for Renfrewshire

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Renfrewshire Council could be set to seal a wide-ranging strategic partnership with University of the West of Scotland (UWS) aimed at boosting learning, jobs and innovation.

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The two organisations already cooperate extensively through the local community planning programme which brings together a number of public, private and third sector organisations.

A report to the February 17 meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board will recommend that the council and the University build on that joint working through the setting up of a strategic partnership.

Council and University chiefs have identified four key themes where they believe they can deliver ambitious priorities which will improve the wellbeing and life chances of the University’s students and the wider Renfrewshire community.

The four main strategic themes relate to place, economy and jobs, learning, and expertise and innovation.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “These are exciting times for Renfrewshire. We are leading the way on innovative approaches to, for example, town centre regeneration and efforts to reduce youth unemployment.

“It is also an important time as the community gets behind the bid for Paisley to be UK City of Culture 2021.

“Alongside those programmes, the council has been working closely with a number of local organisations and we see an opportunity to deliver even more through a new partnership with UWS.

“In this very difficult funding era for all public bodies, we all need to be imaginative and focus our resources on high priority areas of common interest where joint working will deliver public value.

“The themes we have prioritised focus on the opportunities we want to give our community throughout their lives, in education and employment, in providing an attractive location for investment and innovation, and in enhancing the distinctive appeal of Renfrewshire at home and abroad.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland (UWS), said “UWS is proud of the contribution it makes to Renfrewshire and, in particular, its close relationship with Renfrewshire Council. The proposed strategic partnership agreement is therefore a positive a statement of our commitment to transforming lives and communities through the provision of outstanding and progressive higher education in the West of Scotland.

“The University will continue to be at the heart of education, culture and business development in Paisley and this proposed agreement will bring together our extensive range of existing activities and provide a springboard for future expansion to benefit the whole community.”

The proposal to establish a strategic partnership will be considered initially by councillors at a meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board on Wednesday February 17.

The partnership is expected to run initially from March 2016 to December 2017.

Renfrewshire Council is also in discussion with West College Scotland to establish the same type of strategic partnership.