UWE Bristol launches new set of short courses designed for lifelong learning

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UWE Bristol launches new set of short courses designed for lifelong learning, skills development and levelling up, which for the first time can access student loan funding

UWE Bristol is partaking in a nationwide pilot of the forthcoming government initiative the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE), offering professional short courses in the subject area of architecture, urban design, and the engineering of zero carbon buildings.

All LLE short courses meet the standard required to be credit bearing, can count towards related degree qualifications, and can be undertaken by UK citizens free-at-the-point-of-delivery through Student Loan Company funding, which is offset against future earnings.

Each course is worth 30 credits (a quarter of a full-time year of study), is delivered as one half-day of teaching a week for 24 weeks.

Learners are registered as UWE Bristol students and will have access to our related support services

For applicants new to higher education, or new to the topic of urban design, architecture and construction, UWE Bristol is delivering two taster courses that will be delivered face-to-face:

For applicants with existing knowledge of both Higher Education and the built environment, UWE Bristol also offers more advanced courses aimed at developing skills in the design and management of zero carbon buildings. These will be delivered as evening (6-9pm) courses both in person at the Arnolfini campus, and available to access online.

On completion of the courses participants can advance onto further learning opportunities and careers in property, planning, advanced design, retrofit coordination and energy management.

See the course links above for entry requirements and details on how to apply. These courses align with the University’s commitment to transform futures: powering the future workforce.

UWE Bristol positive action internship wins outstanding partnership award

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The Strive Internship scheme, a partnership between UWE Bristol, Hargreaves Lansdown and Bristol City Council, has recently won the Institute of Student Employers Outstanding Partnership Award at their annual awards.

Inspired by the ambition of the national #10,000 Black Interns initiative, Hargreaves Lansdown in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, Bristol City Council and the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) launched the regional Strive Internship scheme.

Drawing on recommendations from McGregor Smith’s 2017 Race in the Workplace Review, this five-year long positive-action scheme aims to have a long-term and sustainable impact on the lives, career and earning trajectories of young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and recent graduates in the region.

The programme created 45 paid internship opportunities, across 20 organisations in the region for Black students living or studying in the West of England.

The positive-action initiative offers Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students living or studying in the region the opportunity to gain valuable paid work experience across a wide range of sectors each year, providing critical training and development opportunities, mentoring and sponsorship. Their aim is to have organisations from across the region join together to have positive conversations around diversity and inclusion.

Jessica Tomico who sits on the board for the Strive Internship and is a Business Development Manager at UWE Bristol commented “We are delighted that the excellent work of the Strive Internship has been recognised at the Institute of Student Employers awards. The initiative is a great example of how organisations in the region can work together to have a lasting positive impact on the careers of young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and recent graduates.”

Find out more about the internship.

UWE Bristol celebrating world Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Day 2022 

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UWE Bristol are proud to work with many Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the region. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for up to 90% of businesses, 60% to 70% of employment, and they account for half of global GDP, according to the United Nations.  

To celebrate World MSME Day 2022 we are sharing some recent work and projects with MSMEs.  

In this short video, we highlight three SMEs we worked with as part of our Scale Up 4 Growth Scheme. In partnership with NatWest and Foot Anstey, we gave SMEs access to grant funding and business support to help them scale up. In the below video we hear from The Bristol Loaf, Wiper and True and 299 Lighting about how the funding has helped transform their business.  

Spotlight on Bristol 24/7  

Bristol 24/7 are one of many MSMEs we are supporting through our Skills for Clean Growth programme and our Digital Skills programme.  Below is some feedback from Meg Houghton-Gilmour, Community and Memberships Manager.

Tell us a bit about what you are doing as an organisation to support sustainability goals in the region? 

At Bristol24/7 we’re really proud to be in the process of recruiting a dedicated climate and sustainability editor. We are the first local media organisation to do so as far as we know, and we’ve created this role to engage conversation, inspire people to take action, hold authorities and companies to account and report on the positive work already ongoing in Bristol.  

This is alongside our work to become more sustainable as an organisation. We are currently working with Action Net Zero to assess our carbon footprint, from which we will set goals to minimise our impact on the planet.  

We believe that working together is the best way to tackle the climate crisis. One of the defining values of our Better Business network is sustainability and we share ideas, opportunities and resources with our business members at our quarterly meetings.  

What steps have you taken to ensure you have a diverse workforce to drive forward these aims? 

Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of all of Bristol24/7s plans. We recognise there are considerable barriers to working in journalism and we are aiming to level the playing field at every opportunity. We are continuously improving our recruitment process to make it welcoming and accessible to all those who are interested in working with us. We have redesigned our work experience programme and we are working to introduce a career ladder so that those who have their first taste of journalism with us are invited back for longer placements and interviews for entry level positions.  

We work with the most underrepresented areas of Bristol to train new journalists in our community reporters programme. Our entire team take part in setting our goals and strategy for the year ahead and every voice is heard; we believe this allows for more robust decision making and creativity which are essential when tackling problems such as the climate crisis.  

What support have you received from UWE Bristol, and how has it contributed to these aims? 

We’re extremely grateful to UWE Bristol for their support. Over the last 12 months, our team have benefitted from Digital Skills support and training which has informed our membership strategy. We now also have a stronger marketing strategy which helps us capitalise on the support from our community and grow our membership – the result of which is that we can offer more work experience placements, train more community reporters and work with charity partners. 

More recently, members of our team have also taken part in the Skills for Clean Growth workshops. We already feel more confident in addressing our own carbon output, and we look forward to attending more workshops as we set our new goals, induct our climate editor and take the next steps on our sustainability journey.  

What successes have you seen as a result of the above work? 

In the last year we have seen a 30% growth in our membership, which has provided us with the resource to grow our team, including interns from UWE Bristol, and increase our social impact work. 

Workshops for MSMEs 

Are you a Gloucestershire business looking to scale?​ 

Digital Scale-Up for your Business

Hosted in the Advanced Digital Academy at Gloucestershire College in Cheltenham on Monday 11 & Tuesday 12 July 2022.  

Find out more and register

Growth through Innovation workshop 

5 & 6 July 2022, 09:00 – 16:30 

Business Cyber Centre, Chippenham 

A practical workshop to support your business in creating, communicating and funding innovation, free to SMEs in the Swindon & Wiltshire area. 

Find out more and register

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships  

The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. We embed a recent graduate within your business and give you access to our academic expertise to help you transform your business.  

View some of our KTP case studies

Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship  

We recently supported more than 70 young people to complete the first stage of a transformational ‘first of its kind’ green skills training programme. 

The programme aimed to provide access to green jobs, training and business opportunities to Black, Asian and minoritised young people (aged 18-28), and recent graduates living in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset. 

Get in touch  

We are always keen to work with MSMEs so please do get in touch to discuss how we can support you and your business uwebusiness@ac.uk  

Community STEM Club connects local community, engineering students, and industry professionals

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The Old Library Community STEM Club has become a well-established weekly event in Eastville since it was first launched in September 2021: every Thursday after school, children and their parents or carers make their way to the Old Library Community Hub to take part in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based activities, and to play and socialise.

The Old Library is a community led and run project, based in the former Eastville Library, which was closed down in March 2016 after council budget cuts. It now serves as a hire space for workshops and activities, including a community café, workshops, crafts, quiz nights, music, book clubs, a repair café, and the weekly STEM Club.

The Club was co-developed with the team behind UWE Bristol’s DETI Inspire, a programme designed to connect children from all backgrounds with real-life, diverse engineering role models to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.

It gets further support from Industry professionals via the STEM Ambassador Hub, and UWE Bristol Engineering students, who regularly support and run activities.

A club for the whole community

The sessions vary every week: children have built balloon- and sail powered cars, electric circuits, bike pump powered paper rockets, water filtration systems, and they even designed their own city, using recycled materials. They also had the opportunity to build and programme their own robots using Lego Mindstorms, and they digitally re-designed Bristol in Minecraft sessions led by the  DETI Inspire Team at UWE Bristol.

The Club is aimed to be as accessible as possible, which is why it is run on a free, drop-in basis. There are also healthy snacks on offer alongside the activities, and the grown-ups can relax with a cup of tea or coffee, or choose to get involved in the activities themselves.

What’s next?

For the upcoming sessions the children will be building model boats which will be raced at the Bristol Harbour Festival on Saturday 16 July. Boat building is taking place on 16 of June and 7 July and supported by the My Future My Choice programme and Industry volunteers.

Lego Mindstorms will be making a comeback on 23 and 30 of June: instructed by UWE Engineering students, the children will learn how to build and programme Lego robots.

There are also plans for wind turbine building, though the exact dates are still to be confirmed.

The last STEM Club session of this term is planned for Thursday 14 July, and then the Club will pause for the summer holidays, with a return planned in September, for the start of the new school year.

For updates check the Old Library Facebook page or email hello@theoldlibrary.org.uk should you have any questions.

UWE Bristol academic appointed Adjunct Professor of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation at the University of Southern Denmark

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Associate Professor in Rheumatology and Self-Management Emma Dures has recently been appointed Adjunct Professor of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation at the University of Southern Denmark and the associated research institution at the Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Sønderborg.

This honorary post will last for five years, during which Emma will visit Denmark twice a year to give talks and collaborate on research.

Emma commented:

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to build on my collaborations with Danish colleagues, including Professor Jette Primdhal and Professor Ann Bremander.

This appointment will support us to develop an exciting research agenda centred on psychosocial support for people living with inflammatory arthritis”.

Emma is part of the Centre for Health and Clinical Research (CHCR) at UWE Bristol. CHCR brings together researchers working in the fields of long-term conditions, palliative and supportive care, and emergency care, to inform knowledge mobilisation across the lifespan.

Their vision is to conduct excellent research and support its broad application to benefit the health and wellbeing of individuals and society. They actively involve patients and the public at all stages of their research and evaluation activities.

UWE Bristol Apprenticeships: Meet the apprentice

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UWE Bristol offers of wide range of apprenticeship programmes and we regularly catch up with our apprentices to hear about their experiences.

In this Meet the Apprentice we caught up with one of our Professional Policing Practice Apprentices working with Avon & Somerset Police.

What attracted you to becoming a Higher or Degree apprentice?

At the time of applying to be a Police Officer, the Degree Apprenticeship was not set up. I had little idea or thoughts about it until I enrolled on the programme. I simply accepted it, as this was the route to doing the job that I wanted to do. Now that I am on the course and in the role, I am really glad I made the leap. The course has not only developed how I learn for the better, but given me a great understanding for the issues that affect our community as a whole.

Thinking about your apprenticeship experience to date, what have been the main benefits to your career development?

Avon and Somerset is a diverse area that is culturally rich, densely populated and has busy cities such as Bristol & Bath. True legitimacy and confidence, requires an ongoing and consistent dialogue with all of our communities to ensure we maintain those Peelian principles of approval and respect. Without the publics support in our actions as a Constabulary then we cannot legitimately Police society. The current idea of the PCDA program is to create a new kind of Police Officer that is a reflective practitioner and a critical thinker.

Police actions have come under scrutiny in past years with the appalling circumstances leading to the murders of George Floyd and Sarah Everard. According to works by Rinehart & Kochel in 2011 and Bottoms and Tankebe in 2012 “The police now more than ever need to ensure that their actions are procedurally just and work to build legitimacy with the entire population that they serve. In this, the police must acknowledge that the ‘community’ is made up of several communities that are not homogenous and may require nuanced policing”. Thinking about this critically we as Officers need to have an understanding of social behaviour and society. For example, officer behaviour has been linked to the outcomes with suspect, in particular procedurally fair officers influenced positive change in suspect behaviour (Miller and Alexandrou, 2016). Procedural justice has been known to enhance perceptions of police legitimacy (Madon, Murphy & Sargeant, 2017).

By being reflective and dynamic in my approach, applying the lessons learned through academia and experience I have seen the benefits of the program. With the influx of new Officer’s coming through we have an opportunity to ‘jumpstart’ policing, and in particular focus on how we integrate and support the public.

What are the top three things you would recommend to someone thinking about becoming a Higher or Degree apprentice? 

1. Get stuck in and embrace it. It’s a fantastic opportunity that could take you a long way.

2. Engage with the learning and don’t be held back. I never though myself particularly academic, but nothing is impossible.

3. There truly is no other job like Policing.

What are your future goals beyond completion of your apprenticeship?

I already have the best job, that challenges me with new situations everyday, so I haven’t really given it a lot of thought.

Find out more about Apprentices at UWE Bristol.

UWE Bristol Apprentices Win at Society for Cardiological Science and Technology National Update Meeting

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Two UWE Bristol apprentices have been recognised for their achievements at The Society for Cardiological Science and Technology (SCST) National Update Meeting.

Agnieszka Sawicka and Bradley Cock, apprentices on the Healthcare Science Practitioner Training Programme at UWE Bristol, were both recognised for their achievements during the national meeting

Agnieszka was awarded the Rising Star award and Bradley received the Highest Certificate Exam Grade Nationally, scoring 98% in his exam.

Agnieszka commented:

I have been working as a Healthcare Assistant Scientist in Non-invasive Cardiology for 3,5 years prior to starting the apprenticeship. I had no clinical background at all and looking at ECGs was very confusing to me at first. I started getting signed off in various tests, and my number 1 priority was to understand the traces I was looking at. At first, I’ve achieved the SCST practical award and the Certificate, which is basic ECG interpretation. Unfortunately, due to Covid, I couldn’t go ahead with the Diploma exam.

That is when I decided to organise daily ECG teachings for my colleagues, and I enjoyed it a lot. I love teaching new staff and sharing my knowledge with everyone. My manager put me through the apprenticeship as a recognition for my work and how much passion I had for the job role. It is an amazing course; I am enjoying it greatly.

During my first block week,  I had the opportunity to show how passionate I am and that is when I was recognised for my work. Getting the award means so much to me, those years of hard work have paid off, and someone was able to recognise my passion for the job. It was a great start to 2022, and I hope it’s only the beginning of amazing achievements.

Karina Stewart, Associated Head of Department (Subject Lead for Healthcare Science) commented:

“We are incredibly proud of our Healthcare Science apprentice students. Completing a BSc degree in three years alongside a busy clinical job is no mean feat, and of course it has been all the more challenging over the past couple of years. So it is fantastic to hear of Agnieszka’s and Bradley’s achievements, and to know that they have been justly rewarded for their dedication and hard work.”

SCST is the professional body for those working in cardiac healthcare science. SCST membership demonstrates that an individual is committed to the highest standards of practice and professional conduct.

Congratulations to both students!

UWE Bristol academic leads Community Climate Literature Book Club in Eastville

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Dr Sarah Robertson, a senior lecturer in American Literature and part of the English Literature team at UWE is currently leading on a time-limited book club for those who love literature and want to read more about the climate.

Across her research, Sarah has repeatedly turned to the extractive logic that has ravaged parts of the Appalachian mountains. She critically examines literary representations of coal mining, strip mining, mountain-top removal, fracking and logging, and their impact on the land and local communities in US States including West Virginia and Tennessee. Her latest projects include completing a book on Gothic Appalachian Literature (Anthem Press, 2024), with a distinct focus on extraction and climate change, and working with UWE colleague, Dr Ann Alston (English Literature), on an impact case study on climate change, literature, society and the English curriculum.

As part of her work on the impact case study, Sarah devised this book club to provide the public with opportunities to discuss a variety of contemporary novels that represent the changing climate. Engaging with world literature, from science fiction to realism, the group discusses the challenges of climate change and questions of hope, adaptability, and resilience as they emerge across the selected novels.

Meeting in the lovely space at The Old Library in Eastville, Bristol, over tea and coffee, the group discussions are warm and friendly, allowing everyone to share their thoughts. In January the group read Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour (2012), and in February it turned to Amitav Ghosh’s Gun Island (2019).

The book club is free of charge and you can join by dropping-in with no prior booking (though it would be great if you could let us know at Sarah.Robertson@uwe.ac.uk if you are intending to join, just so we have a rough idea of numbers). It takes place on the first Tuesday of every month from until June, from 7:00-9:00pm.

Upcoming meetings:

1st March – Maja Lunde’s The End of the Ocean

5th April – Ian McEwan’s Solar

3rd May – Elif Shafak’s The Island of Missing Trees

7th June – Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future

English Literature and the Climate Crisis: Teaching Climate Literature to Young Adults

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As society responds to the changing climate, English literature provides useful and critical insights into the challenges we face, as well as helping to build resilience and activism. At Cop26 in November 2021, the education secretary Nadhim Zahawi promised to “put climate change at the heart of education.” To turn this promise into a reality, then climate change should be taught across the curriculum, from the Humanities to STEM.

This event, designed and led by UWE English Literature staff Dr Ann Alston and Dr Sarah Robertson, is for key stage 3 English teachers. It will explore how English literature can be more fully utilised as a vital tool in generating climate change awareness and for coping with climate anxiety. At the event, Dr Ann Alston will deliver a talk on climate change in young adult fiction, and Dr Sarah Robertson will present on approaches to teaching climate literature. The talks will be followed by a roundtable discussion where participants can share their thoughts on teaching climate change through English, exploring the challenges and benefits of such an approach.

The event will take place on Saturday 26 March, from 11:00-14:00 on Frenchay Campus. For more information and/or to book a place, please email Sarah.Robertson@uwe.ac.uk

UWE Bristol academics win research funding to investigate the population level effects of artificial lighting on biodiversity

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Academics at UWE Bristol have won a substantial bid from the National Environment Research Council (NERC) to investigate the population level effects of artificial lighting on biodiversity, using bats as models.

There is urgent need to understand how global environmental changes impact biodiversity. This project will address scientific and conservation challenges of global importance, pushing the scientific boundaries within global change research.

Dr Emma Stone, Senior Lecturer in Conservation Sciences, with Dr Paul Lintott from the UWE Bristol Bat Conservation Research Lab and the University of Exeter (Dr Razgour) aim to fill the gaps in their understanding of the population level impacts of artificial lighting, specifically, impacts on bat population fitness, breeding success, genetic connectivity between bat populations, and the potential for adaptation.

The ability of populations to respond to artificial lighting depends on the nature and speed of change in artificial lighting across the landscape and the ability of species to adapt to such changes. Species’ ability to adapt is a function of their physiological characteristics, how diverse the species are genetically, and their movement ability. Artificial lighting creates barriers to animal movement which can prevent populations from breeding and may have implications for population growth, ability to adapt and long-term survival.

Despite a better understanding of the impacts of artificial lights on animal behaviour, no studies have yet assessed responses at both the genomic, reproductive and physiological levels. The team will address this major gap in global change research through applying a novel interdisciplinary approach combining ecological, genomic, physiological and demographic tools to experimentally study the effect of artificial lighting on nocturnal wildlife, focusing on bats. They will focus on: the brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus), a light sensitive species that commonly roosts in buildings.

Dr Stone commented: “I am so pleased to get this project funded. It is the culmination of all my work on bats and lighting since I started my career. This is a very exciting project as it allows us to push the boundaries of research in this field to ask the next key questions that have eluded us until now, by assessing population level effects of lighting on bats. I am also super excited to work with my long term collaborator Dr Razgour at the University of Exeter, the combination of her expertise in genetics with my expertise in bats and artificial lighting creates a novel interdisciplinary approach to this field”.

We look forward to sharing more on this project as it develops.

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