Published on 09/04/2024
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Aston University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Mike Caine signing the memorandum of understanding with Deirdre LaBassiere, Chair of the Legacy Centre of Excellence
Aston University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Mike Caine with Deirdre LaBassiere, Chair of the Legacy Centre of Excellence
  • The partnership aims to support the local community in Aston, Lozells and Newtown
  • The agreement was formally signed at a celebration event on Monday 8 April
  • The initial focus of the partnership is to work with black-owned businesses and to upskill local young people with cyber skills training.

Aston University and the Legacy Centre of Excellence have celebrated signing a memorandum of understanding aimed at supporting the local community in the Aston, Lozells and Newtown areas of Birmingham.

The agreement was formally signed by Professor Mike Caine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at Aston University and Deirdre LaBassiere, Chair of the Legacy Centre of Excellence at a celebration event held at the Legacy Centre on Monday 8 April 2024, attended by guests from the Legacy Centre and Aston University.

The event was opened by Dr Angela Jeffery, Aston University’s Director of Regional Strategy.

Keynote speakers included Deirdre LaBassiere and Professor Mike Caine, as well as Professor Monder Ram, Director of the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) at Aston University and Keith Shayaam-Smith, Chief Executive of the Legacy Centre of Excellence.

The Legacy Centre of Excellence is Europe’s largest independent black-owned arts and business centre. Based in one of the most diverse areas of the city, it aims to champion the needs of the local community through the arts, jobs, training, personal development, and education.

Formerly the Drum Arts Centre, its refurbished multipurpose building has two theatres, a café, restaurant, offices, business suite and multimedia suites.

The initial areas of focus of the partnership are to work with black-owned businesses through Aston University’s Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME), to provide energy audits for the Legacy Centre’s network of businesses through the Business Growth West Midlands decarbonisation net zero programme in affiliation with the Business Energy Advice Service and to support young people to gain digital skills through the delivery of cyber ‘boot camps’ at the Legacy Centre of Excellence during May.

Professor Mike Caine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at Aston University, said:

“Developing closer links with the local community is part of our 2030 strategy. Partnering with the Legacy Centre is an exciting opportunity to reach and inspire local talent to achieve their education and career goals.”

Keith Shayaam Smith, Chief Executive Office at Legacy Centre of Excellence, said:

“We are on a mission to join forces with a wide range of people and organisations across public, private, charitable sectors in order to inspire, connect and enable and support the development of young people, entrepreneurs and the local community as a whole.

“Our new partnership with Aston University is another expression of this mission, which we are delighted to be celebrating today.”

Notes to editors

About Aston University

For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming the Guardian University of the Year in 2020.

Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Helen Tunnicliffe, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7827 090240 or email: h.tunnicliffe@aston.ac.uk.

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