You may have noticed that Team ICZ have been quite quiet on the blogosphere recently. We’ve been working away on our ICZ Development Framework for University Council. This document pins down our deliverables for the immediate future of the ICZs and really shapes what we’re going to do and how the ICZs will change our University. This was no small task, and after lots of consultation and what felt like endless amendment, finally on the 14th October 2016, Council endorsed our proposals. We’re good to go. Let’s get this show on the road!

So what are we actually going to do I hear you say? Well, let me tell you, it’s exciting stuff!

We have 5 statements of intent, our building blocks for the development of the ICZs, have a look below:

  1. Every student has the opportunity for an integrated work-based learning experience
  2. Every programme is co-created with industry, and delivered with maximum flexibility of time, place and method
  3. Research and enterprise activities are grounded in the needs of industry and contribute to meeting a range of global challenges
  4. The University community enacts the ICZ principles in all its activities, ensuring the maximum cross University contribution is made to all four ICZs
  5. The University is the destination of choice for high quality students whose fit with industry as the future workforce ensures high levels of employability

So for this blog, lets focus on the first one. We’re going to make sure every student has the opportunity for an integrated work-based learning experience, that means putting industry partnership at the heart of everything we do. Our employability rating from the Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DHLE) stats, it’s fair to say, are not that great; and if you’re a student, spending a substantial amount of money on your education, to develop and become the best that you can be, it’s no great stretch to say that at the end of it you want a good job, a graduate job. That’s our focus here, let’s make our students more employable, let’s give them the skills to apply their knowledge, an opportunity to learn on the job, both here at the University (we’re offering 50 internships per year), or with our partners. Everybody wins in this scenario.

Giving every student this opportunity is no mean feat, and of course, not all programmes have the same needs when it comes to work based learning, and not all students want the same experience. We have to be flexible, and for a large, complex organisation that isn’t an easy task. There will be work to do there, systems and process to navigate and questions and challenges, like there always is with big change, but ultimately it’s worth it.

Here’s an example. Back in June the University launched a new partnership with Manchester Storm, the ice hockey team. The opportunities for work-based learning from this single partner alone are vast. Students from Salford Business School help plan Storm events, students from the School of Arts and Media have got journalism covered, and the School of Health Sciences are providing sports rehabilitation and physiotherapy.   Our students can apply their knowledge in a real life situation, learning on the job. But on top of that we’re also accepting 3 of the Manchester Storm players onto our Executive MBA so they can consider the further development of their careers after ice hockey. That’s us investing in our students and our partners, and the Storm even threw in some free tickets to their first game! Like I said earlier. Everybody wins!