AN AMBITIOUS joint commitment aiming to develop education and business in the borough for future generations has been made by Bury Council and The University of Bolton.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the leader of Bury Council, Councillor Rishi Shori, and the president and vice chancellor of The University of Bolton, Professor George Homes ­— which the two institutions say heralds the start of a special relationship.

The document, which was signed at a ceremony in Bury Town Hall on Tuesday, outlines how the two bodies will collaborate to develop “substantial” university provision and “state-of-the-art” infrastructure for education, industrial development and economic regeneration in Bury, over the next two years.

It also aims to provide opportunities to funnel talented young people from schools through to further education and degrees, and directly into employment, all in one town.

Cllr Shori said: “It is crucial that we are able to provide the best start for young people in terms of education which will greatly increase their employability.

“This partnership will enable Bury residents to acquire a high quality education to degree level and at the same time help us to retain talented and skilled local people in the borough to assist them in gaining employment which will contribute to and boost the economy.”

Through the collaborative venture, The University of Bolton will gain a significant presence in Bury ­— initially focussing on a key set of disciplines, including digital technologies, health and wellbeing, intelligent construction engineering, advanced manufacturing, and technology assisted living.

The partnership will seek to provide a range of higher education, research and education programmes including undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees.

It will also offer degree apprenticeships, applied research projects, and enterprise activities with industry.

The two partners say their collaboration will further aim to “develop a top quality, modern environment for the knowledge economy in Bury”, including a designated “Innovation Zone” and a hub focussing on apprenticeships.

The initiative will also fit into Bury Council’s Growth Plan which outlines its future strategy and objectives to to help Bury grow and flourish, while tackling many of the issues around the borough.

Recently approved, the plans centre on the establishment of infrastructure and initiatives around four key areas, concerning priorities for physical, economic, social and environmental growth; and covering matters including supporting employment and jobs, business development, and development of skills at all levels of education.

In this vein the initiative will target higher skills development, the creation of new businesses and promote a vision to attract the best young talent, new businesses and people of all generations to live and work in Bury.

Prof Holmes said he was delighted by the collaboration, adding: “This is tremendous news and the University is delighted to be working so closely with Bury Council on such ambitious and exciting plans.

“At the University of Bolton, we are determined to help improve and change the lives of as many people as possible through education.

“This collaboration will create enormous mutual benefit for the wider business sectors and the people of Bury, as well as the entire Greater Manchester City Region.

He added: “Both organisations will foster relationships with a variety of businesses in and around the area to help achieve our goals.”

Following the first steps taken at the UoM signing funding structures and income generation options for planned developments will now be hashed out by the council and The University of Bolton ­— including a joint bid for government incentives and grants.

The institutions will also work closely with other peer organisations in Greater Manchester and beyond to explore further opportunities for funding and mutual collaboration to achieve the UoM’s commitments.

This arrangement will be managed by a steering group of four members, comprising two nominated by each organisation , who will meet regularly.