New business hub brings university and business together

Economy secretary Ken Skate and Julie Lydon open the USW Exchange. Neil Gibson, September 2017

USW Exchange has been opened by Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates. He is pictured with USW Vice-Chancellor Professor Julie Lydon 

A new concept of business hub which puts together the needs of SMEs with the skills of academia was launched at the University of South Wales (USW) this week. (September 18).

The USW Exchange, sponsored by Barclays, is a one-stop-shop for businesses wanting to tap into talent at the University, providing business support advice while offering a unique student experience.

Speaking at the launch event, Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates, said: “Following the core principles of ‘Be The Spark’, we are committed to working with others to create the right conditions in Wales for businesses and entrepreneurial talent to thrive and grow, and a key part of this is ensuring they have access to new labour market talent.

“This new facility provides an ideal environment for students to gain a better understanding of the skills and experience needed in the workplace, and it will enable businesses in the region to access the support and advice needed to help grow their enterprises and collaborate more closely with academia.”

As well as supporting the local economy, USW Exchange enables students to gain the valuable real-life experience of working on live industry projects.

USW Exchange has opened at the University of South WalesThrough the Student Consultancy Firm, students are matched with companies in need of their particular skills. All students work alongside a supervising academic on live projects.

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, Assistant Pro Vice-Chancellor at USW, said: “The USW Exchange is a first for Wales. It provides an open door for businesses to come into the University and identify the knowledge, experience and expertise they need to help their businesses to grow.

“Businesses can use the USW Exchange Centre on the Treforest campus as a space for collaboration and interaction. It is a place to support start-ups and expand existing businesses, and somewhere to build links between industry and graduate talent.”

Dominic Page, Head of the South Wales Business School, said: “Through the Exchange our students get valuable real-life experience of working on live industry projects.

“They can see how their skills directly impact on the growth of a business. This is great for their career development and prospects when they graduate.”

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