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Solent University, Southampton has kicked off its Strategy 2035 development process with a guest lecture delivered by Rt Hon Justine Greening.

28th February 2024
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This series is designed to champion collaboration in the process of creating an informed strategy that responds to the opportunities and challenges facing modern universities today.

Rt Hon Justine Greening's 'Universities as engines of social mobility and entrepreneurship' took place on Tuesday 5 March, at Solent's East Park Terrace campus.

As the former Secretary of State for Education and founder of the Social Mobility Pledge, Rt Hon Greening brought her experience in politics, education and equality to consider important questions about the current landscape of higher education.

Rt Hon Justine Greening, Chair of the Purpose Coalition, says: "As we head towards a general election, this is a crucial year for higher education. Politicians must have a focus on higher education and the funding system, so that the sector can continue its crucial work on social mobility and driving opportunity. It is imperative that the sector continues to break down barriers to opportunity through widening participation, student support, entrepreneurship and much more. 

"Universities like Solent are great examples of higher education institutions that can provide the real-life solutions on social mobility that the UK so badly needs. I'm looking forward to kicking off the Strategy 2034 lecture series and meeting students, staff and local stakeholders."

Solent's Strategy 2035 Series invites staff, students and stakeholders to hear from experts in and out of the sector to discuss the future of higher education, the social landscape, rapid technological change, and opportunities for innovation and investment. Vice-Chancellor, Professor James Knowles, says:

"Solent is a truly inclusive University that has a long history of ensuring access to higher education for all. Universities are at the height of their power when we work collaboratively to deliver the highest quality education that results in the very best outcomes for graduate futures. It's my belief that this has a ripple effect, positively impacting regional economies and producing skilled graduates who are work-ready, confident about their future and prepared to become active and engaged citizens.

"This lecture series has been developed to put collaboration at the heart of our new strategy, and Rt Hon Justine Greening is the very best advocate to launch us into important conversations about how we respond effectively to the challenges and opportunities facing higher education."

During her lecture, Justine talked about 'shifting the dial', calling on universities to be part of the solution to enhance social mobility for students and graduates. With attendees, which were made up of stakeholders, staff and students, Justine highlighted the importance of working collaboratively to create opportunities for graduates and embracing partnership working in both private and public sectors. 

As a launching point for this new series, Justine highlighted the purpose and value of higher education, encouraging everyone in the sector to tease out the opportunities posed by current periods of innovation and transformation. Universities can drive change at a regional and local level, embracing education as a means for positive change. 

About Rt Jon Justine Greening

Rt Hon Justine Greening is founder of the Social Mobility Pledge, bringing together more than 800 UK businesses and universities, covering 8 million people committed to improving social mobility. Justine is the former Secretary of State for Education (the first to attend a comprehensive school), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for International Development, Secretary of State for Transport and Economic Secretary to the Treasury.