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More than just business talk

“Just as castles provided the source of strength for medieval towns, and factories provided prosperity in the industrial age, universities are the source of strength in the knowledge‐based economy of the twenty‐first century.”

The words of the late Lord Dearing CB are as relevant today as they were almost two decades ago with our economic and social prosperity depending now more than ever upon a healthy knowledge‐based economy.


More than just business talk

“Just as castles provided the source of strength for medieval towns, and factories provided prosperity in the industrial age, universities are the source of strength in the knowledge‐based economy of the twenty‐first century.”

The words of the late Lord Dearing CB are as relevant today as they were almost two decades ago with our economic and social prosperity depending now more than ever upon a healthy knowledge‐based economy.


In a competitive but unstable economic environment, recently shaken by the coronavirus outbreak, there is an even greater need for skilled workforces, for a thriving and supported culture of entrepreneurship, for scientific and technological developments and for world-leading research that challenges the status quo and improves lives. To achieve this, businesses, communities, and we (universities) must support one another and work collaboratively to understand the challenges facing us now and in the future.

Since Lord Dearing’s vision, university-business collaboration has been enhanced through the continuous evolution of the Higher Education sector from theory-based learning to a more vocational and applied approach. As a result, our graduates are leaving us better equipped to begin life in the ‘working world’ with the aptitude and expertise required to apply their knowledge and to succeed in their chosen field. 

USW has a proud history of being an applied University borne out of a need to educate and upskill local workforces, be this at the Newport Mechanics Institute in 1841 or the South Wales and Monmouth School of mines in 1913. Since then our alumni network has grown to include a vast number of successful business owners, leaders and innovators, many of whom continue to work with us as valued partners.

To further support a culture of collaboration at USW, we have developed a purpose-built facility, the USW Exchange, which provides a single ‘front door’ for university business engagement. A dedicated Engagement Team is also in place to link businesses with the many valuable collaboration opportunities available. 

If you’re a graduate who wants to reconnect with the University to enhance your business, expand your network connections or gain alternative insights on a particular workplace dilemma, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

We’re less about jargon, and all about action.

Just some of the opportunities we can support you with, include:

Research and funding

To support a knowledge‐based economy, there is a national focus on productivity and a drive to bridge the knowledge gap and support innovation. To achieve this, the Welsh Government is encouraging collaboration between industry, education, and communities with the view that, by working together, we can develop new solutions to problems. This has created numerous business-university research opportunities including Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), collaborative research funding, and funded placements. We have a thriving research culture here at USW, much of which has been put into action during the recent Covid-19 pandemic via a number of high-level projects. 

Student placements and live briefs

Work placements and briefs allow students to gain professional skills specific to their subject or industry of choice, whilst also giving them the experience they need to enter the workplace with the right levels of confidence and awareness. At the same time, students can bring fresh new perspective to the role or business they’re placed in and are often valuable additions, providing resource and support to teams. Student engagement can take many forms, from long-term placements to half-day problem-solving workshops and there are many mechanisms in place to support this engagement. Design students in our Faculty of Creative Industries recently worked with staff at the British Heart Foundation Wales on a cross-disciplinary (Fashion, Retail and Interior Design) project where students with different strengths were placed together and successfully scoped a brand-new retail experience for the charity.   

Hear from students who benefited from working on placement in support of Commonwealth Games Wales.

Access to facilities

We have a wide range of high-end equipment and facilities at the University of South Wales, which businesses can access for research, testing, training and events. This includes a nationally recognised research and testing centre for automotive and power systems engineering, a full medical simulation centre, a sport park equipped with indoor and outdoor FIFA standard 3G football pitches, a motion capture studio with full green screen, and a conference centre with catering facilities and accommodation – to mention a just a few.  

Staff development opportunities

When it comes to education and training, we provide a variety of development programmes including professional short courses, accredited programmes, and masterclasses which can help businesses to develop their staff. We also provide customised programmes and are happy to work with businesses to identify and scope their needs.

Business networks and events

Becoming a member of USW Exchange business community is great a way to access the network, opportunities and events available. 

Find out more to explore how you could strengthen your business by creating connections through our professional education, applied research and business networks, or get in touch with the Engagement Team via email at uswexchange@southwales.ac.uk, or call 01443 482266.