University launches £1m recruitment drive to support new IT strategy

James Crooks

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has embarked on a recruitment drive to develop its digital offering to students and employers.

Preston-based UCLan is investing more than £1m in bolstering its IT department with plans to add more than 20 new staff to its existing team, including solution architects, web developers, business analysts, and systems analysts.

It is aimed at building an industry-leading IT function at the university which recently launched a new IT strategy with the mission “to provide a digital environment that enables, inspires, enhances and empowers our people and our business to succeed”.

UCLan is one of the UK’s largest universities with a student and staff community approaching 38,000 and an employment-focused course portfolio containing more than 350 undergraduate programmes and nearly 200+ postgraduate courses.

Alongside its Preston base it also operates in Burnley, Westlakes in West Cumbria and Cyprus. It enrols students from more than 100 countries and has partnerships with in excess of 120 institutions from across the globe.

It said its new IT strategy will need a variety of skills and expertise across various IT disciplines.

Over the strategy period UCLan will be modernising and transforming its IT systems and services, including migrating to the cloud, building and developing new student-facing services in Dynamics 365, enhancing student administrative services in the Ellucian Banner platform, and modernising its approach to system and data integrations, security, authentication, automation and service management.

James Crooks , UCLan’s director of learning and information services, said: “As our organisation continues to evolve, and particularly as we emerge from the limitations and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, our reliance on technology to support and enable all aspects of our business continues to grow.

“Our diverse community of students and learners expect to be able to interact and collaborate together in new ways, requiring an effective blend of physical and digital environments. Our learning and teaching environments, experiences and resources need to be digitally enabled – empowered by a technology infrastructure that provides the necessary agility and accessibility, at the same time as keeping our systems, our data, and our peoples safe and secure.

“These are really exciting times for our university – we have some fantastic opportunities to transform our digital environment over the coming years, with a network and server infrastructure programme that will deliver the required flexibility and scalability, alongside a systems development portfolio that will optimise the student and staff experience across all aspects of university life.”

He added: “The university has a fantastic track record in digital developments, with recent achievements including a ‘University of the Year’ award from Edu futurists 2020 for our Digi Learn programme. With a new university strategy on the horizon, digital and technology will be at the heart of our future, and security is such a critical enabler for those ambitions.”

UCLan is working with Manchester-based Fairmont Recruitment to achieve its intake target.