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Making students ‘Work Ready’: The Power of Industry Collaboration. A blog by Nicky Harris, University of Salford Programme Leader

BLOG: Making students ‘Work Ready’ by University of Salford Programme Leader Nicky Harris

In our latest blog, we caught up with Programme Leader Nicky Harris to discuss Morgan Sindall’s long standing industry partnership with the University of Salford has helped to create a ‘Work Ready’ future workforce.

As someone who has been involved in higher education for years, I believe that industry collaboration is essential in preparing students for the real world. Whilst qualifications are undoubtedly at the core of the University experience, it is through industry insight that our students gain the skills required to hit the ground running and excel in the workplace.

A great example of this is our long-standing partnership with Morgan Sindall Construction which has helped to prepare legions of our students for future careers in the built environment.

Our ongoing partnership

Our ongoing partnership with Morgan Sindall spans nearly a decade and was further strengthened through their time delivering two construction projects at the university: The SEE (Science, Engineering & Environmental) Building and the NERIC Building (North of England Robotics Innovation Centre).

The social value plan for these projects prioritised student engagement and over 160 hours of educational support were provided to the University as a result.

This builds upon excellent work that was already underway. For many years Morgan Sindall’s staff have given up their time to provide expert lectures to our students in topics such as planning, carbon, digital construction, health and safety, quantity surveying, project management and social value.

Collaborating with colleagues at Morgan Sindall is always a pleasure and the ongoing support I receive in my own modules is invaluable to my teaching.


Morgan Sindall introduced the Knowledge Quad to the SEE Building project which was a particular highlight of their industry collaboration. This onsite training and learning facility provided a base for Salford students, as well as other users, to experience a working construction environment, engage with staff and supply chain, and visit our site in a safe and controlled manner.

The Knowledge Quad was used as a base to host two employment courses for Build Salford, demonstrating the wider impact of construction on the local area. We recognise that pursuing a university qualification may not be feasible for many individuals, and engaging with Build Salford allowed us to assist 24 local young people in securing long-term employment through a more hands-on and vocational approach.


Morgan Sindall have supported our Constructionarium programme for four consecutive years. The programme challenges students to fully immerse themselves in a construction project, building a small scale version of a real-life project at the CITB Training Centre in Kings Lymm.

Morgan Sindall provided pre-construction classroom support and joined our students at the facility over the five day programme, offering their guidance and expert knowledge. Our team felt that this support fundamentally improved our students' experience and understanding of the tasks at hand.


Morgan Sindall have also supported our Multi-Disciplinary Module for four consecutive years, which sees students from Built Environment courses such as Construction Management, Architecture and Quantity Surveying create a fully costed proposal to a real world challenge set by Morgan Sindall.

We were delighted to see Construction Management student Mitchell Bowden being offered a Graduate position with Morgan Sindall off the back of this. After impressing the team, he was invited to an assessment day where he was selected for a summer placement which later led to a graduate site manager position. Mitchell went on to work on the SEE Building project and now remains permanently employed by the contractor.

Students have also been able to strengthen their knowledge of different types of builds by visiting numerous other projects such as the New Bailey Residential scheme and the Hammerstone Road Depot refurbishment.

In addition, Morgan Sindall has provided support to the CIOB Challenge for the past three years. The most recent challenge brief focused on achieving Net Zero Carbon, which serves as an illustration of the company's commitment to staying current with relevant industry matters.

Many students have gained work experience, learning from staff such as site/project managers and quantity surveyors, and any of Morgan Sindall’s own staff have also studied at the university or are currently pursuing part time qualifications with us.

Some recent beneficiaries of our partnership


Build Salford candidate Mo is now employed by Morgan Sindall as a supply chain manager


Build Salford candidate Ethan went onto an Apprenticeship with Morgan Sindall Supply Chain Partner BlueGyp

Danielle Graduation Pic 2

Estimator Danielle recently graduated with a 1st in Quantity Surveying via a degree apprenticeship with Morgan Sindall

1. Mitchel Bowden

Student Mitchell impressed Morgan Sindall staff leading the Multi-Disciplinary Project module and gained employment as a Graduate Site Manager


Morgan Sindall document controller and politics graduate Jonathan retrained as a Quantity Surveyor via an Accelerated Degree

Shaun Jones, Area Director, Morgan Sindall said:

Many of our staff studied or are currently studying at Salford, representing approximately a sixth of our North West business, highlighting the mutual benefit of this long term partnership approach. Our common goal is to provide better education and environments to make students ‘work ready’ and more useful to our business and the wider industry.”

The Future

At the University of Salford, industry collaboration is our strategic priority. It means we develop and nurture outstanding relationships with industry in all aspects of our business, from co-creation of the curriculum and producing job-ready graduates, to research, consultancy, and knowledge exchange.

As someone who has seen first hand the benefits of industry collaboration, I can say that it has brought immense value to our students. The real-world insight provided by Morgan Sindall's industry collaboration helped prepare our students for life after university, making them job-ready and giving them an edge in the workforce.

Our commitment to industry collaboration is unshakable, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Morgan Sindall in the future.

By Nicky Harris, Programme Leader at the University of Salford