Cardiff Met’s VC talks COVID challenges and opportunities

“The pandemic has brought the worst of times, but shown the very best of Cardiff Met”

Professor Cara Aitchison, President and Vice Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University, addresses the latest meeting of Cardiff Business Club

PRESIDENT and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University, Professor Cara Aitchison, has spoken about the University’s leadership during the pandemic, opportunities and partnerships it plans to capitalise on and how it expects to emerge even stronger in a post-COVID world.

Professor Aitchisonwas speaking at the Cardiff Business Club’s latest virtual gathering on Tuesday February 9 which was widely attended by business leaders and experts across Wales.

Cardiff Met was recently named The Times and Sunday Times Welsh University of Year 2021 and over the past 12 months saw student recruitment levels increase and significant improvements in all league table positions. The University, which was in a strong financial position at beginning of pandemic and on course to meet all KPIs, now has over 20,000 students along with its 1,400 staff members, and views its people as its strongest asset.

Professor Aitchison, who has a 33-year career spanning seven universities, said: “There is no manual for leading a business through a pandemic, but we made our staff and students’physical, financial and mental health and wellbeing our priority. As long as our people remain safe and of sound body and mind,we can all play a part in the recovery of not only the University, but of our Nation as a whole. Frequent and effective communication is also key to maintaining trust and resiliencethroughout a crisis.”

Cardiff Met was the first university in Wales to offer all of its services online at the point of lockdown. Professor Aitchison says: “We recognise the difficult situation that students have found themselves in; losing part time jobs and placements, the ability to make new friends and gain support through normal in-person university services. As well as converting all our services – and more – to online, we have also introduced a ‘No Detriment’ policy which means that students will not be disadvantaged in their degree outcomes because of the pandemic.”

Looking to the future, Professor Aitchison said: “Our applications are up 16% on last year, our turnover was £110million and we have one of the fastest growing Schools of Technologies in the UK. We’ve recently launched three Global Academies to take forward ourinternational, interdisciplinary and impactful education and research to tackle global challenges in: Health and Human Performance; Food Sciences, Safety and Security; and Human Centred Design. Our continued investment and adaptation puts us in a strong position to achieve our ambition of becoming a top 50 UK university.”

The full address and Q&A can be viewed by the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8N-AZp6zuU

Cardiff Business Club’s next event will take place on 22 February featuring Managing Director of Mitsubishi UK, Rob Lindley. To secure a place or find out more about the Club visit www.cardiffbusinessclub.org/events.

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