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03.03.08
HE figurehead to attend national debate

Dr Ian TunbridgeDr Ian Tunbridge, OBE, Executive Director of Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC), was asked to participate in a major National Conference in London on 6th March, focusing on how universities and colleges can develop successful further and higher education collaborations to improve provision across the UK.

At the annual conference – FE/HE Collaborative Provision 2008 – universities, colleges and organisations involved with lifelong learning and widening participation were addressed by MP Bill Rammell, the Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, along with an array of highly respected and experienced educationalists, politicians and academics.

Dr Tunbridge has a wealth of expertise in both further and higher education having followed a traditional academic career for 10 years at The University of Plymouth as a Lecturer in Geology, before establishing the University's acclaimed regional partner college network, which became the University of Plymouth Colleges Faculty (UPC).

He now heads up CUC, a unique partnership of universities and colleges offering higher education in Cornwall. This includes the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry, Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College and is fast becoming recognised as Europe's leading collaborative higher education initiative.

Dr Tunbridge was due to be sitting on a panel debating developments in Foundation Degrees, which are two-year university level qualifications combining academic and work-based learning. Foundation Degrees are designed in conjunction with employers to ensure students acquire skills that are relevant in the local economy. CUC partners offer a vast choice of subjects across Cornwall – from Renewable Energy Technologies and Early Childhood Studies to Small Business Development and Marine Sports Science – as full time, part-time or flexible study courses. Foundation Degrees can lead to Honours Degrees, usually through a further year of study at university.

This collaborative approach is of interest to education institutions across the UK and Dr Tunbridge is delighted to be invited to contribute at the upcoming event, as he explains: "I am very pleased to be part of such a high level discussion, demonstrating Cornwall's success in widening the range of courses, subjects and ease of access to higher education. I'm really looking forward to sharing our ideas and taking away new ones that may benefit the lives of people in our region."

For further information please contact Emma Stallard, Combined Universities in Cornwall PR and Communications Officer on 01326 259908 / 07896 042524 or email emma.stallard@cuc.ac.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

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Editor's notes:

Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's economic renaissance. The principal partners are the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College. It aims not only to provide the students of the future with more choice and greater opportunities, but also to boost the economic fortunes of the region for the benefit of one and all.

The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
The Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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