‘This is why Wakefield needs a university centre’

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A report which found just 20 per cent of people have a high-level qualification shows the need for the city to have its own university centre.

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box made the claim after a study, by the think-tank Centre for Cities, ranked Wakefield as the third worst performer in the country with just 20.6 per cent of the district’s population having a degree or higher education qualification.

Coun Box said: “Our young people are leaving school with excellent GCSE results yet we are bottom of the league for high skills.

“Raising skill levels has to be a priority for employers across the board along with more local opportunities for people to access higher level education.

“This is why we must continue to drive forward our bid to create a University Centre for Wakefield and have made it a key priority to support local businesses.

“Without this focus the cycle of low skills and low wages will continue, potentially driving away local talent and damaging the district’s ability to grow its economy.”

The council said it is “working closely” with Wakefield College to secure investment for a university centre.

Joanne Roney, council chief executive, said: “One of our key priorities is to attract more highly skilled businesses and jobs to the district and as part of this it is vital that we, and our local employers, continue to invest in raising skill levels.

“Wakefield Council already has strong links with Leeds Becket University, but we also remain fully determined to bring a university centre to Wakefield and will continue to support its development.”