New year, new opportunities

Ian Harper, Chief Executive of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, is excited about the opportunities offered in the year ahead. He writes:

“As we settle into our third academic year at University Campus Aylesbury Vale we are enjoying welcoming returning and new students to the campus.

This year we will have more than 400 students registered on programmes and attending the campus, on courses as wide-ranging as computing, health and social care, nursing, counselling, business and engineering.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a partnership between Buckinghamshire New University and The Buckinghamshire College Group and I am excited about the opportunities available as we continue to work together. Watch this space!

I was also delighted that University Campus Aylesbury Vale was able to help host Aylesbury’s first Waterside Festival in September.

The Festival was centred on the leisure basin canalside in the Waterside part of town. A continental market and floating canal traders attracted thousands of guests on the day who also enjoyed the chance to see practical demonstrations from Bucks New University’s Operating Department Practice course team, alongside other attractions laid on by our neighbours and other local businesses and groups.

The event was such a success that it will be repeated in 2019 and we are pleased with the opportunities it provides to showcase our building and facilities.

Bucks New University’s Apprenticeship Hub is also based at University Campus Aylesbury Vale and a number of programmes they have recruited to will operate from our campus this year, meaning we will have more students coming through the door throughout this academic year.

It is set to be an exciting time and as we go into 2019 I am looking forward to the opportunities we are able to provide for students, businesses and organisations in the region.”

New year of Breakfast Briefings announced at University Campus Aylesbury Vale

University Campus Aylesbury Vale has released the 2018 dates for its Breakfast Briefing series, supported by Buckinghamshire Business First, offering topical subjects to help local businesses.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale, in Walton Street, Aylesbury, is a partnership between Bucks New University and Buckinghamshire College Group, and the Breakfast Briefings, from 8am-10am, see talks by academics and lecturers from the University or College. The Briefings also offer networking opportunities. Refreshments are served.

Greta Paa-Kerner, a senior lecturer in Bucks Business School at Buckinghamshire New University, will be speaking about ‘Digital disruption – survive or thrive’ on Friday 26 January.

Greta, who has over 20 years’ marketing experience, will be discussing key trends in the age of digital disruption and the Briefing is aimed at helping small and medium business decision makers understand key digital trends and reflect on their meaning for their businesses.

On Friday 23 February, Louisa Berry, Senior Lecturer in MSc Organisational Resilience at Bucks New University, will be speaking on ‘Business critical: harnessing the seven p’s for resilience’; and on Friday 27 April, Dr Ceri Sims, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Bucks New University, will be giving a talk called ‘Bringing positive psychology into the workplace’.

Ian Harper, Chief Executive of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, said: “After 2017’s mix of interesting and varied Breakfast Briefings, I’m looking forward to welcoming guests to our programme of Briefings in 2018.  With a topical range of subjects our events will appeal to a wide range of businesses who I’m sure will pose their customary challenging questions to our speakers.”

Register your attendance for one or all of the Breakfast Briefing series at and follow developments on Twitter at @UniCampusAV.

New term at University Campus Aylesbury Vale



Ian Harper, Chief Executive of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, speaks about what’s to come at the start of a new academic year.

“Term has started at University Campus Aylesbury Vale and we have welcomed returning students and many new students on our courses.

The 2017-18 academic year promises to be a busy one as not only have we enrolled more students than last year but we also have a number of large events to host.

Visitors will also see an exciting Digital Innovation Hub take shape to support business innovation and growth in Bucks thanks to £1.3 million funding from Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP).

It will transform vacant spaces into business incubation space for start-up and growing businesses in the digital sector. There is substantial internal construction work to be done to ensure the spaces are attractive and work well alongside our teaching and learning activities.

Other elements of the project will see computer-aided design (CAD) and virtual reality equipment installed to improve our engineering degree programme. The Vale’s young people will also have a chance to try the technology out for themselves so watch this space to find out how! In addition, the funding will also help us improve our cyber security provision which, in turn, will enhance the curriculum of one of our newest programmes, a degree apprenticeship in IT.

Degree apprenticeships loom large in the future of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, with Bucks New University and Aylesbury College’s Apprenticeship Hub now located at the Campus. Communications with employers and apprentices will be coordinated from here and many of the higher and degree apprenticeships offered by the College and University will have elements taught in the building.

This month, all of the College’s level three students will also visit us for workshops and presentations on the higher-level options at the campus, UCAS applications, student finance and student life. They will also visit Bucks New University’s main campus in High Wycombe for subject-specific talks and workshop tours.

It all adds up to a very busy start to 2017-18. Keep an eye on the various social media channels to keep up to date on these projects as they unfold.”


Campus location and facilities perfect for student Steph

Steph Smith is studying a Foundation Degree in Computing with Aylesbury College at University Campus Aylesbury Vale and has explained why the course and its location of study is proving perfect for her.

Steph, who works in IT support at Systech Instruments Ltd in Thame, Oxfordshire, said PC provision and facilities made the Campus an ideal place for her to make the most of the course.

At Systech Instruments Ltd, Steph, who lives in Aylesbury, is responsible for managing servers, hardware, and network software and resolving IT issues for three companies in the Systech Illinois group, based in the UK, America and China. Her forthcoming projects include working on a site installation in China.

She said: “The facilities at University Campus Aylesbury Vale are brilliant. There are new PCs available for Computing students to use as well as another space outside the computing areas where other students can work from. There is also a social space available which has been extremely helpful when doing group project work as discussions could take place outside the classroom.

“The benefit of having a different site is that University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a much quieter building, which helped for revision before an exam or in preparing for a presentation.

“What I found particularly good was the free use of PCs where work could be completed outside of class, especially with software which costs a lot of money to buy. I would recommend students come to University Campus Aylesbury Vale as the classes tend to be smaller and therefore the tutor can focus more on an individual. The general staff around UCAV are also very friendly and helpful.”

Speaking about her course she said: “I chose to study the Foundation Degree in Computing at Aylesbury College as the course content was ideal for me in developing the knowledge I needed to be more effective at work.

“I had just completed an apprenticeship and wanted to develop myself further. My manager and I decided that this was the best course available as it covered the key areas I needed including networking and databases.

“The course has helped me with my job role, mainly with the networking side of things as well as how to create documentation. I have found using diagrams across different aspects of the modules has helped me develop documentation and planning alongside my job. In terms of my next steps I am enjoying working at Systech and intend to continue. I aim to complete the one-year top up to a full degree qualification.”

Find out more about studying a Foundation Degree in Computing with Aylesbury College at University Campus Aylesbury Vale, here:

Engineering student Dan revels in opportunities at University Campus Aylesbury Vale

Dan Hughes is taking advantage of opportunities to take the next stage in his career by studying for a BEng (Hons) degree in Mechanical Engineering Design with Bucks New University at University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

The 22-year-old is in the first year of a three-year degree course, studying one day a week at the Campus, a partnership between the University and Aylesbury College, in Walton Street, Aylesbury.

Dan is a Design Engineer with Airflow Developments in Cressex Business Park, High Wycombe, and has worked for the company for over three years having joined as an apprentice after completing A-Levels. He has already carried out an HNC in Electronic Engineering while with the company.

Dan said: “I hope this qualification will allow me to progress up the career ladder.

“I also hope that the knowledge I gain from this course will help me perform the best I can at work. I have found that it has already given me a better understanding of the work in the designing process.

“The course is very worthwhile. The lecturers are great and incredibly knowledgeable. The best thing about it is that it is a full degree in three years but completed one day a week – the same amount of time for a full degree so you just have to be prepared to put the work in.”

Speaking about University Campus Aylesbury Vale, he added: “It is a brand new building so the space is well planned and laid out, with lots of free space to do any work in a great environment. There are usually free rooms if you work best in the quiet.

“It is located in a great place that is easy to get to, with Aylesbury town centre so close. As it is a new facility, Bucks New University and Aylesbury College are putting efforts into improving the building by adding augmented reality, which will work great with my course, and the tutors are planning at the moment to implement this into my course.

“Further to this, it is great to get the opportunity to work with upcoming technology such as augmented reality, giving me an advantage over others who haven’t had the chance.”

Course Leader Peter Shine said: “We are delighted to hear Dan’s views. The broad objective of the Engineering undergraduate programmes is to develop well-educated graduates with a strong technical knowledge and the understanding and attributes required to practise as professional engineers and we are pleased Dan is taking advantage of these opportunities.”

Apprenticeships under the spotlight at Breakfast Briefing

University Campus Aylesbury Vale hosts its next Breakfast Briefing, on ‘Benefits of an apprentice to your business’, from 8am-10am on Friday 26 May, in partnership with Buckinghamshire Business First.

The Briefing at the Campus in Walton Street, Aylesbury, will focus on latest developments following the introduction of the government’s apprenticeship levy, and information on degree apprenticeships.

Professor Tim Middleton, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Buckinghamshire New University, will be speaking about working with businesses on degree apprenticeships.

Tim Keighley, Executive Director of Employer Engagement & Business Development at Aylesbury College, will be discussing funding, how to access the levy, and avenues to fund training for existing employees.
The pair will be joined by Angela Spang, Managing Director of London Medical Education Academy in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, speaking about the benefits of recruiting apprentices.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a partnership between Bucks New University and Aylesbury College and the Breakfast Briefing includes refreshments and networking opportunities.

The Breakfast Briefing series sees bi-monthly talks by academics and lecturers from the University or College speaking about topical subjects to help local businesses.

Ian Harper, Chief Executive of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, said: “Higher and degree apprenticeships provide an opportunity for employers to work in partnership with colleges and universities to provide a flexible route to degrees for their employees. Degrees earned alongside employment mean that employers benefit from increased skills as their employees study, and employees can put their new knowledge into practice immediately.”


For more details on degree apprenticeships with Bucks New University visit and for apprenticeships with Aylesbury College visit

Register your attendance for the 26 May Breakfast Briefing at

Breakfast Briefing series

Ian Harper, Chief Executive of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, writes about our successful Breakfast Briefing series.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale, a partnership between Bucks New University and Aylesbury College, has been hosting the Breakfast Briefing series for six months.

The series sees bi-monthly talks by academics and lecturers from the University or College speaking about topical subjects to help local businesses. Most recently, over 50 people, mainly from SMEs in the Aylesbury area, came along to an illuminating talk by international marketing consultant and academic Greta Paa-Kerner of Bucks Business School on how social media can help business. Previous briefings have covered themes of cyber security and the new apprenticeship standards and levy arrangements.

The talks are helping to build the profile of the campus, which has been open for 16 months, and attract people to find out about the courses we offer. Representatives from the University and College are on hand to answer any questions our guests have. It’s a good opportunity to sample the learning environment at the campus, which is deliberately distinct from those of our parent institutions, and to hear about the exciting developments planned for the currently unused parts of the building.


The next Breakfast Briefing, on degree apprenticeships, is from 8am-10am on Friday 26 May. There are various breakfast options including hot bacon rolls, pastries and fruit. We’re looking forward to welcoming our regular guests and those attending their first briefing.

The new degree apprenticeships is a fascinating subject, so come along and find out how we can support employers to put their colleagues through degree programmes in a new way. You will discover the funding support available from government and how the programmes dovetail with working practice.

Keep up to date with the series by visiting our website or following us on Twitter at @UniCampusAV.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale receives £1.3m funding support for digital innovation centre

Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) is delighted to provide £1.3m in capital funds to University Campus Aylesbury Vale to create an exciting Digital Innovation Hub to support business innovation and growth in Bucks.

The Digital Innovation Hub is aimed at making University Campus Aylesbury Vale, in Walton Street, Aylesbury, a centre for start-up businesses in the digital sector, with facilities including a cyber-security suite and virtual reality engineering design studio.

The Campus, a partnership between Buckinghamshire New University and Aylesbury College, will enable small and early-stage high-growth businesses to access advice, support and incubation spaces and enjoy use of the wider facilities and opportunities offered at both institutions’ sites.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a purpose-built campus for the delivery of degree and professional development courses in Aylesbury, providing degree level courses and professional development programmes through Bucks New University and Aylesbury College. It has more than 300 students studying courses including foundation degrees in Computing and Business Management.

Andrew M. Smith, Chairman of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP), said: “We are delighted to be funding this key project to create an exciting hub where business and education can interact and which meet BTVLEP and regional skills priorities in design and technology.

Andrew added: “University Campus Aylesbury Vale’s Digital Innovation Hub will be the area’s leading destination and ideal environment for businesses and entrepreneurs in design and digital technology sectors seeking support for start-up, innovation and growth. The new facility will be a hub for business-to-business interaction and access to apprenticeship and higher skills development, all of which will help to retain expertise in Bucks and attract talent from other areas.”

Ian Harper, Chief Executive of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, said: “We are grateful to the BTVLEP for their support of the project and delighted that they are excited by our plans to support new businesses, apprentices and undergraduates in our Aylesbury campus. We look forward to working with the LEP to address the current and future skills needs of the region.”

The development will incorporate a business service to meet graduate level skills gaps and a technical design facility to support the development of technical businesses and inspire the region’s young people to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects.

Professor Tim Middleton, Pro-Vice Chancellor Research, Enterprise & International, said: “Bucks New University is excited to be working with the support of the LEP to build on its work with business in further developing our University Campus Aylesbury Vale site as a place to work with start-up businesses and provide enhanced support for continuing professional development in cyber security and digital design.”

A mobile facility will use simulation to showcase work and courses offered at University Campus Aylesbury Vale, particularly where the College and University seek to widen participation in further and higher education among traditionally under-represented groups.

Buckinghamshire is the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain where, for well over a decade, more businesses have started here than anywhere else in the UK. This is borne of the heartbeat of enterprise, which is manifest in a propensity to act; and a propensity to successfully exploit new ideas. It is no accident that we are the birthplace of the Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville, the creative film engine for James Bond and Star Wars at Pinewood Studios, and the joint home of the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.

The Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) is a business-led ‘partnership of equals’ between local government and the private sector, building the conditions for sustainable economic growth in the County.

Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF), is the Growth Hub for Buckinghamshire and is backed by Buckinghamshire based entrepreneurs, thousands of SMEs and Local Authorities. BBF provides the link between public policy and the business community in Buckinghamshire and works with partners to create a dynamic business environment in the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain.

Aylesbury College students get a taste of studying with Bucks New University

Students from Aylesbury College were invited to attend a progression event with Bucks New University, held at University Campus Aylesbury Vale, which is a partnership between the two organisations.

The event was hosted to show students the options available to them should they wish to continue studying locally on completion of their level 3 courses.

The event consisted of various presentations on the University, the wide range of courses offered, financial support available, and a chance to meet Bucks Students’ Union’s Vice-President Joe Collins for an insight into life as a university student.

Students found the event informative and engaging and had the opportunity to speak to relevant tutors from the subject areas they hope to study to find out more about what the courses entail.

UK must not forget ‘soft underbelly’ of the public against cyber attack, warns academic

A specialist at University Campus Aylesbury Vale says the general public are the ‘soft underbelly’ of the UK’s cyber protection and need to be better educated in online threats.

Phil Wood, Head of our Cyber Resilience Centre, specialises in the study and development of organisational capability in the face of security and related risks, and spoke after the Commons Public Accounts Committee said a skills shortage and ‘chaotic’ handling of personal data breaches are undermining confidence in the government’s ability to protect the UK from cyber attacks.

He said: “Millions of IT users who either work for small and medium enterprises, or for themselves, or even those who just use their smart phones as mobile computers, are the soft underbelly of our cyber protection.

We need a joined-up approach that is not just about business but also about the wider public understanding the possible repercussions of their own interactions and sharing of information.

“The cyber threat exposes us all to the types of risks outlined by the Commons Public Accounts Committee. We need a much more inclusive approach to the development of cyber awareness and protection.

“Whilst there are many educational and training programmes available for those who are dedicated to the cyber profession there is much less general awareness raising for the rest of us.

“Whilst the traditional methods of warfare will always be options for the implementation of foreign policy, the use of information and cyberattacks to destabilise democratic processes and underpinning our infrastructure is known to be effective-and will be increasingly used in what is termed ‘hybrid warfare’.
“Whilst soldiers, ships and aircraft may not be used, the effects of disabling or removing large elements of national infrastructure such as power generation and control systems can be achieved more quickly and at less expense using cyber attacks.

“Alongside this, what seems to be an increasingly evident use of misinformation to destabilise and undermine democratic processes is clearly an attractive option; as Sir Michael Fallon terms it: ‘weaponising misinformation’.

“Through our partner, Bucks New University, we are set to design and develop a range of programmes and school linkages through our Cyber Resilience Centre, based at University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

“There we aim to be able to put together everything from very, very straightforward and simple information and data management courses to much more technical specialist training and development.

“We are working on degree apprenticeships to ensure that cyber capabilities can be embedded within organisations, using dedicated cyber specialist employees, and we are also able to provide high-level professional development and awareness for executive and board members to help them to understand the depth and range not only of the technical issues, but also of the more traditional information security issues that face us all.”