Gateway to partnership success

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Bournemouth University’s stunning new £27 million Poole Gateway Building has been shown off to the region’s business community.

The brand new state-of-the-art facility played host to the latest breakfast networking meeting staged by AFC Business, the commercial arm of Premier League football club AFC Bournemouth.

Poole Gateway Building houses two multi-camera TV studios, a film studio, recording studios, green screen facilities, music labs, a cinema and leading edge technological equipment.

Guests were treated to a tour of the 5,000 sq ft facility, which opened last month, by Project Manager Rob Lipcar, who explained that as well as professional-level facilities the building was constructed to exacting sustainability standards, with 70 per cent of the cost spent locally.

University Chief Operating Officer Jim Andrews and AFC Bournemouth Commercial Director Rob Mitchell, an alumnus of the university, took part in a Q&A session as they explained the partnership working between the two organisations.

The association began back in 2008 when students began to volunteer at the then cash-strapped League 2 club, with the partnership being made official in 2012 and now involves a close relationship.

Rob said: “We are able to give real life work experience to a great many students, who join our physiotherapy, sports science, analysis and coaching teams across all our squads and have access to expertise and facilities.

“It really does work for both sides. There is a huge range of work going on. As a Premier League football club we have a responsibility, as well as brand power, to engage with our community.

“We currently connect with 4,000 people each week on our outreach programme – and this also allows us to build our fanbase at a time when the size of our stadium precludes many from attending matches.”

Jim added: “We have 20,000 students and 2,000 colleagues who work at BU and are very much part of the community – and one of our roles is to encourage students to remain in Bournemouth and Dorset after graduation, with all the economic benefits that entails.

“We have more students on work placement than any other university in the UK and there is an absolute business case that this works – a recent survey of graduate employability put us 15th amongst universities in the UK.

“We work closely with AFC Bournemouth to the mutual benefit of two leading organisations.”

Dr Richard Southern, Head of Department at the National Centre for Computer Animation, which is based at the university, gave a fascinating talk to guests about the latest developments in virtual reality, artificial intelligence and immersive media and how they are used by students.

AFC Business, the free to join business club with more than 750 members, is the engine for all the club’s commercial activities.

It was launched in 2009 and gives members exclusive offers at AFC Bournemouth, access to events and is a great chance to meet local businesses.

AFC Business’ six main partners are Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Global Reach, Hill Osborne, Strategic Solutions and Dorset Search & Rescue.

www.afcb.co.uk