How Middlesbrough's educational facilities support business growth

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It’s well known that Middlesbrough is fast becoming one of the hottest business districts in the North East, supported by our upcoming Centre Square development and the thriving Boho zone. The region equally has a celebrated educational institutions: Teesside University, Middlesbrough College and The Northern School of Art.

The benefits that outstanding places of education such as these bring to locally based businesses is becoming increasingly understood and valued.

In this journal entry we’re going to review the synergy between our regional businesses and educational facilities, highlighting the key advantages and resources that your company could be tapping into.


Teesside University offers apprenticeships that are specifically designed in partnership with employers and professional bodies, [enabling them to be tailored to your needs]. The university works with organisations across all sectors, helping employers to:

  • Attract and retain top talent
  • Demonstrate your commitment to staff investment
  • Enhance and develop your workforce
  • Fill higher-level skill gaps
  • Grow your business

These apprenticeships have been endorsed by Ofsted – the UK’s education watchdog – which examined the University’s Higher Apprenticeship provision across five categories and rated every area as outstanding, from leadership and management to learner outcomes. The university is one of the first in the UK to achieve this certification.

If you’re contemplating hiring a degree-level apprentice from Teesside University, check out this video highlighting how the apprenticeship scheme has helped grow and diversify Teesside-based Active Financial Services.


We grabbed some time with Professor Jane Turner, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Business and Enterprise Engagement, Teesside University, to discuss the opportunities the university is bringing to businesses.

She said: “Around 72% of our students tend to stay in Tees Valley following graduation which is a real benefit for local employers, giving them access to a huge bank of talent that will be staying in the region indefinitely.

“We additionally have a business clinic where we assist our students in picking up pro bono work with local businesses on consultancy projects, helping them develop their employability skills and acting as a ‘long-term’ interview process for businesses to develop and hire talent from a young age.”


A recent article from Study International discussed the tides of change that are sweeping across business schools worldwide, in which it simply isn’t enough to just offer a degree – you must offer real-life understanding of the business world.


The article marked Teesside University as an anchor for this change due to its tendency to help and support its students, its high pedigree of lecturers and its new £7.5 million state-of-the-art business facility.

Universities have the unique opportunity within each of their locales to encourage and drive forward business development. In fact, Teesside University came first in the ‘Improving the Business Environment’ category in the 2018 Enterprising Britain Awards, celebrating their ability to promoting enterprise start-ups and growth.

Some of the initiatives that bagged Teesside University this number one spot include:

  • Innovate Tees Valley – a university-led partnership, supported by European funding, to help SMEs build innovation capacity for entry into new markets and sectors with new products and services
  • Launchpad initiative - a unique start-up engine providing advice, support and office space to early-stage companies

Jane Turner continued: “We’re one university in one LEP region so we’re very focussed on the growth of our regional businesses. We work with businesses on a number of fronts, and in the last three years we’ve worked with just under 800 Teesside companies on 1600 projects.

“A key project we have is called digital city that supports businesses in embracing digital technologies, and to embed our university’s cutting-edge research into their businesses to help them develop, innovate and grow.”

To see the full interview we conducted with Professor Jane Turner, click here.



Alongside business growth, universities are often the starting point for innovation in science, technology and medicine, playing host to some of the brightest minds in the country.

Among other recent accolades, Teesside University researchers have developed new techniques for safely sharing patient data, developed an online tool to help patients with long-term conditions take better control of their illness, and are part of a pioneering international project which is spearheading the use of virtual reality to help people living with persistent pain.

It’s hard to deny that innovation has found a home in Middlesbrough.


And although it doesn’t always have to come back to money, it is important to note the economic benefits that universities bring to the region. As a whole, UK universities generate £95 billion for the country’s economy and support more than 940,000 jobs across the nation. Without the existence of these world-class educational facilities on our doorstep, the region would have a lower footfall, businesses would suffer and there would be less interest from investors.

The region is absolutely thriving and there are so many facets that are allowing businesses to thrive alongside it - really, the final piece of the jigsaw is Centre Square, a place for businesses to call home.


Want to give your business the best chance of success?

If you’re feeling inspired by the benefits our educational systems are bringing to business in the region, or want to discover more about relocating your business to the North East, get in touch with our agents today.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn so you can stay updated with all things Middlesbrough, business and Centre Square.