Birmingham City University teams up with Central England Co-operative for new digital programme

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Central England Co-operative has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Birmingham City University in a bid to collaborate on a new programme to develop skills and improve regional productivity through research, projects, and the closer co-operation between business and academia.

The new partnership will see the two organisations work collaboratively to help support efforts by the Society to continue to embrace the growing influence of digital on the retail and funeralcare industries, as well as seeking partnership cooperation on business development.

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Alongside Birmingham City University, Central England Co-operative aims to become increasingly digitally enabled, provide research and innovation through joint projects and business partnerships, grow and nurture talent in the local area, and extend digital skills across all communities in the region.

Birmingham City University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Julian Beer said:

“This agreement paves the way for us to explore new ways of better serving the region and, in turn, we hope it will inform our own teaching through practice-based learning opportunities.”


The collaboration will also include the creation of a digital hub, called think:digital, based in an office on Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus.

Central England Co-operative Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said:

“As a business, we are always looking to the future and ensuring we are ready to meet the changing needs of our customers and members.

“We are delighted to have signed this Memorandum of Understanding and are looking forward to working closely with Birmingham City University.”

Birmingham City University is fast becoming the leading Midlands-based university for transforming the region and accelerating growth in the local economy. The University works with in excess of 5,000 businesses locally, nationally and internationally.

John Armstrong, Head of Information Technology at Central England Co-operative is leading on this collaboration. He said:

“We see this as an ideal opportunity to work with the university and use its knowledge base, business partnerships and digital skillset to help Central England Co-operative grow as a business.

“The partnership will allow us to become a more digitally enabled Society. This is an exciting link up and we look forward to working closely together to innovate, develop and rollout exciting and advanced digital ways of working to help and support the businesses sectors the Society operates in.”

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

The agreement builds upon the previous collaboration between Central England Co-operative and the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University.  

Professor Hanifa Shah, Associate Dean of Research and Enterprise, Birmingham City University, added:

“Partnerships with local and global organisations are part of our DNA. The market for digital and technical skills is evolving rapidly and our focus on staff, student, and industry collaboration puts us at the forefront of these developments.”


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