The last few months have been incredibly exciting for Campus Services. Not only have we continued to provide an excellent on-campus experience for our students in the wake of COVID-19, but we’ve also successfully hosted graduation celebrations for the Class of 2021. As one of the only universities to do this, I couldn’t be more proud of all the Campus Services teams that helped to make this year’s graduation a reality. It is testament to everyone’s hard work and creativity that we’ve also begun welcoming the Class of 2020 back to campus for their own long-overdue celebrations – you can see the festivities for yourself in the Green Heart until 8 September.
More excitement is yet to come as we prepare to showcase the best of the University of Birmingham to prospective students at our upcoming open days and welcome thousands of new students to campus for the start of a brand-new academic year. This year will be busier than ever as we have 800 additional students to accommodate, following a record-breaking A-level results day.
With more students on campus than ever before, many of our commercial venues, including the Bramall and Staff House, will temporarily be turned into teaching spaces; we’re currently working with Timetabling to create solutions to any challenges this may create for everyday campus operations. We are also providing an increased accommodation offer this year, supported by our nominated Partner Providers, which means that it’s more important than ever to give our students a warm welcome to their new home.
In the next few weeks, we will all be busy doing what we do best: providing an outstanding campus experience for our students. Teams are currently preparing isolation boxes to support our international students throughout their quarantine period and plans are underway to make Welcome Week 2021 the best one yet, with a packed social schedule and food festival. I want to thank you all in advance for your efforts and enthusiasm that I know you’ll bring throughout this period and beyond. As a new year begins, I look forward to seeing how we can continue to exceed expectations and play our part in showcasing why the University of Birmingham is one of the world’s top universities.
Campus Services' Vision
‘Enriching the lives of the University of Birmingham’s students, staff and key stakeholders.’
In Campus Services, we’re in a unique position to make a real difference. Everything we do has a direct impact on the University and its people and we’re proud to play such an integral role in Birmingham life.
Whilst each area has its own expectations, everything we do in Campus Services is underpinned by a common set of values and behaviours:
These values ensure that we’re the best we can be and also support the delivery of the University’s ‘Birmingham 2026’ vision.
Food Fellows: New Catering Identity
Many of you may have spotted that some of campus’ food and drink outlets have had a makeover in the last few months. This rebranding is part of the launch of Business and Operations’ exciting new brand identity, Food Fellows.
Food Fellows is all about delivering high quality, memorable food and drink experiences for students, staff and visitors. As part of this, the team will be providing an in-house provision using the finest ingredients, with a focus on animal welfare, sustainability and ‘keeping it local’.
To support Food Fellow’s commitment to championing local suppliers, Yorks – a Birmingham-based coffee roaster – will be campus’ new coffee provider and has already replaced Costa in the Bramall (now known as Fellows Coffee Shop at The Bramall).
Winterbourne House and Garden, Murray Learning Centre, University Centre, the Main Library, and the Bramall were the first locations to be refreshed and rebranded, with all outlets on campus due to be completed by the end of September.
So far, Food Fellows has been a success, with Winterbourne’s tea room seeing 4x as many Afternoon Tea orders since the refurbishment took place. The tea room’s new look has also been a big hit with customers, many of whom have left positive views on TripAdvisor.
The project has been supported by PMP Consultants who have helped to enhance our current food and drink offer and inject personality into our facilities. It is hoped that the new brand will boost the University’s standing as a one of the world’s best universities, not only for research but for food and drink too.
When you’re next on campus, why not check out our Food Fellows outlets for yourself? The team would love to hear your thoughts. Get in touch by email via email@example.com.
Conference & events
Conference & events Receive the Keys to The Exchange
In July, work on the University’s newest venue, The Exchange, was completed in preparation for its official launch this month. The Exchange has been partially open for business since then – its coffee shop opened to the public on 4 September and the venue hosted its first event on 28 July.
Matt Knight, Venue Manager, on handover day.
With The Exchange due to open fully next month, the Conferences & events and Exchange teams are working hard to prepare the venue to welcome ‘The Air We Breathe’ exhibition, which opens on 2 October. From this date, The Exchange will also be fully open for events and available for bookings. Contact a member of the Conferences & events team to find out more.
The Exchange Hosts its First Event
On 28 July, The Exchange opened its doors for the first time to host a special reception for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games stakeholders. The event was a part of a series of celebrations in Centenary Square to mark the Games’ ‘1 Year to Go’ milestone, which gave the public a taste of just some of the sports the city will be hosting next year.
The Games’ Organising Committee were in attendance, along with Team England athletes, sporting champions, and community heroes who have dedicated their lives to grassroots sport. Hosting such a landmark event was the perfect debut for this impressive, Grade II listed building, which will become a hub for collaboration, creativity and innovation in the heart of Birmingham when it opens fully next month. You can find out more about this unique space here.
The Green Heart Buzzes with Activity
This month, the Green Heart marquee will host students new and old. It’s currently being used for the Class of 2020’s graduation celebrations, and it’s been so wonderful to provide our alumni with a proper University of Birmingham send-off after the events of last year.
From 18 September to 8 October, the marquee will welcome thousands of new students to campus for Welcome Week (or Welcome Weeks as it should be known!), before being transformed into a study space to accommodate this year’s extra students. The Conferences & events team plan to design the marquee to look like an extension of the Main Library’s study space, rather than a separate venue.
University of Birmingham Alumni and Students at the Olympics
The Birmingham sporting community has been incredibly excited to see current students and alumni compete in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Over the last few weeks, there has been plenty of reason to celebrate. Birmingham alumnae Lily Owsley MBE, Anna Toman and Hannah Martin contributed to Team GB’s Olympic success by securing bronze for the Women’s Hockey team, alongside reserves Sarah Evans and Amy Costello.
Also flying the flag for Team GB and the University at the Games was current second-year chemistry student, Oliver Dustin (Men’s 800m). The 20-year-old star has an exciting future ahead in the sport. The University of Birmingham has been well represented at the Paralympics too, with one current student and four alumni competing for Team GB in a variety of events. Current PhD student Ali Jawad competed in the powerlifting event (at what was his fourth Paralympic Games!), whilst alumnae Alison Peasgood and her guide Nikki Bartlett competed in the paratriathlon event, as well as Laura Sugar (paracanoe) and Lora Fachie (para-cycling).
Birmingham’s own Paralympians: Alison Peasgood and Nikki Bartlett (top left); Ali Jawad (top right); and Laura Sugar (bottom left).
Junior Sports Camp Finishes for 2021
After a successful summer of activities at Sport & Fitness, Junior Sports Camp is now officially over for 2021. Over the course of the summer break, our experienced coaches taught over 180 children, with most days being almost fully booked.
8 to 13-year-olds of all abilities were welcome to attend and try their hand at inclusive activities, including indoor climbing, swimming, tennis, martial arts, and much more. That may be all for 2021, but make sure you keep an eye out for Sport & Fitness’ 2022 dates, which will be posted on their website soon!
Our Hockey Pitches are Commonwealth Games Ready!
Any eagle-eyed staff will have noticed that Sport & Fitness’ pitches are now completely blue. The team received the keys to their brand-new competition-ready hockey pitches last month, which will be used for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The resurfacing was carried out by McArdle Sport Tec and Tiger Turf to ensure our water-based pitches comply with the Games’ regulations and are to an FIH standard.
First to make use of the new pitches was the student hockey squads as part of their pre-season training, and there will be many more students to enjoy the pitches before they host the Game’s hockey tournaments next July.
Your Commonwealth Games Update
As the city counts down to Birmingham 2022 (B2022), the University has been busy hosting a series of ‘1 Year to Go’ celebrations and preparing to fulfil its Games’ commitments.
As well as hosting a reception for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games stakeholders in The Exchange, the University also held an internal webinar for over 300 staff and students to share the latest Games’ opportunities and news. In the coming months, there will be plenty of ways to get involved – keep an eye out on your emails to ensure you don’t miss your chance to be a part of this once-in-a-generation event!
Elsewhere on campus, contracts have been signed with the B2022 Organising Committee (OC) to finalise the University’s role as an official Games venue and Athletes’ Village. These are just the first in many exciting agreements to come.
We also recently welcomed David Grady, Chief Financial Officer from the B2022 OC, to campus to give him an update on progress to date and an opportunity to familiarise himself with campus for the first time. The site visit was successful; not only did it allow the University to strengthen its relationship with the OC, but it also confirmed that we’re on track for bringing the Games to life on campus next year.
Last but not least, plans are beginning to be put in place to minimise any disruption the Games might bring to campus’ operations. The University’s Commonwealth Games team have been working with all College and Professional Services to understand the impact that the University’s Games commitments will have on ‘business as usual’, especially from a campus access, parking and transport perspective.
The past year has been, without a doubt, a challenging one of Security Services. Managing everyone’s safety and security throughout the pandemic has tested the team’s resilience and flexibility. However, they have proved that, with the right focus and support from colleagues across the University, anything is possible. With the new academic year beginning in a matter of weeks, Security Services are hoping to build on these existing partnerships and support the University’s ambitions with some new development projects.
Improved CCTV Coverage on Campus
With support from IT Services and Estates, Security Services are currently building a new dedicated and resilient CCTV network. The network will link all Security-controlled and accommodation cameras on campus through an upgraded operating system, providing greater security for staff, students and visitors. To ensure this, the team are working closely with the police and security experts to check that CCTV is active in the best places to protect both people and assets.
Mitie engineers will be working on campus over the next nine months as the project is implemented, with completion expected by May 2022. The Security Control Room has already been refitted and expanded to ensure that it can facilitate the new CCTV system and provide a safer, more COVID secure environment for all staff.
Increased Student Numbers for 2021/22
As you may have seen from the news, this year’s A-level results have seen record highs for top grades, meaning that many more students than normal have secured their place at university. As a result, Birmingham will be full to the brim with new students this September.
Whilst this is great news for the University, housing more undergraduates than expected can be challenging. Fortunately, this demand for accommodation has been offset a little by a reduction in postgraduates living on campus, many of whom come from overseas and will be commencing their studies online due to COVID-19. The Living team have been doing a fantastic job allocating these students and dealing with their enquiries, during a significant period of uncertainty.
After a year when students spent most of their time in lockdown and were unable to socialise outside of their flats, it was inevitable that the Living team would be left with something of a mess after last year’s students moved out. This summer, they have identified more than double the usual number of maintenance issues and expect to have over 12,000 jobs completed by mid-September.
The Student Accommodation Villages team, alongside colleagues in Cleaning Services and Estates, are now working extremely hard across our 1,000 flats and over 5,000 bedrooms, to make sure they are ready to welcome their new student occupants.
Edgbaston Park Hotel
Since its full reopening to commercial guests in May, business has boomed for Edgbaston Park Hotel. With no restrictions on group business, overnight stays or parties, the hotel has operated at 70% occupancy throughout August and at 95% on Saturday nights. It even has 100+ confirmed wedding bookings for the next 12 months in Horton Grange alone.
Not only has this exceeded all expectations – the hospitality industry predicted that businesses wouldn’t perform to this level until at least 2023 – but it’s also contributed to a record-breaking summer for the hotel since its opening in 2018.
For business to have recovered so strongly after the events of the last year is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at the hotel, as well as the strength of Edgbaston Park Hotel’s offers. Head of Commercial, Billy Harris, commented that “adapting and diversifying our packages, services and offerings has been key. From guests staying for their summer staycation to residential conference delegates, Edgbaston Park Hotel has something to offer everyone.”
As the hotel marked its third birthday earlier this month, there’s been much to celebrate for the entire Edgbaston Park Hotel team.
Billy Harris Shortlisted for miaList 2021
Head of Commercial, Billy Harris, has been shortlisted for the Meetings Industry Association’s miaList 2021, which showcases the exceptional talent within the sector.
The miaList formally recognises inspiring individuals who continually go the extra mile, exceed expectations, and play a pivotal role in their organisation’s success, so Billy’s nomination is a real achievement.
Judges at the mia will interview Billy and the other award candidates in the coming weeks to decide who will make this year’s coveted roll of honour. The results will be announced at the miaList 2021 award ceremony on 4 November, which will celebrate the very best of the meeting and events industry. You can find out more about the miaList and book your place at the celebrations online.
With just a few weeks of summer remaining, why not top up your vitamin D levels by going for a walk around campus? Not only is walking a great way to exercise but it can also reduce your stress levels and give your mental health a boost. It’s even been found to be more energising than drinking a cup of coffee. So, next time you’re in a productivity slump or craving a break, why not give one of campus’ Culture Trails or the Campus Mile a go?
Flexible Season Tickets
Why not leave the car at home and travel to work by train? This summer, flexible train season tickets were launched across all rail operators, including West Midlands Railway and National Rail. The new anytime return tickets allow commuters to travel any eight days in 28, making them ideal if you’re combining remote work with time on campus.
Electric Vehicles Cut Campus Emissions
An audit was recently carried out on the University’s fleet vehicles, which looked at how many low-emission vehicles have joined the fleet between April 2020 and July 2021, as well as the impact they had on emissions throughout this period.
The total vehicles in the fleet have remained constant at 114, which include campus’ core vehicles, except for Grounds and Gardens’ agricultural vehicles, and some research vehicles. In April 2020, 44% of these vehicles were either electric, hybrid or fuelled by hydrogen. By July 2021, this figure increased to 51%.
In April last year the fleet’s CO2 emissions were 11,268 G/KM, whilst readings in July saw a 10.28% decrease at 10,110 G/KM. From these figures, it’s clear that low-emission vehicles are worth the investment and play a significant role in helping to reduce the environmental impact of campus’ operational activities.
Following such success, the Post, Portering and Transport team will continue to replace vehicles with low-emission alternatives where appropriate, supporting the University’s net-zero agenda.
Recycling and Waste Contract Handover
The mobilisation of the waste and recycling contract will commence this week (6 September). The Environmental Services team have planned for a smooth transition in time for student arrivals.
As part of the new contract mobilisation, the University will begin collecting food waste in new locations, including the nurseries and the Medical School café. This food waste will be sent for anaerobic digestion and converted into natural biogas to generate electricity for use across campus.
As this year’s Green Impact deadline fast approaches, the 10 Green Impact teams across Campus Services are working hard to collate their sustainability evidence in preparation for the 30September. Submissions will be audited on 13October and awards presented in December.
If your department is taking part in Green Impact, please assist your sustainability champions wherever possible this month and encourage your team to log any sustainable activities, even if they are not specifically mentioned in the toolkit; they may be eligible for special awards.
If you’d like support with submitting your Green Impact evidence, please contact Jade Willetts at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a chat or planning meeting.
Wider Campus Access for RingGo Users
Car Parking Services are happy to announce that pay and display permit holders who pay for their parking sessions via the RingGo mobile app can now park across campus. This includes in car parks that have been previously restricted to Purple permit holders only.
The location code for staff permit holders is 15690.
If you pay via RingGo, please ensure you pay for your daily sessions before or on arrival.
New to RingGo? When you register, make sure you say ‘No’ to SMS messaging; it’s not mandatory, is chargeable at 10p per text, and isn’t necessary if you’re paying a standard all-day rate.
Further authorisation will still be required for parking in any of our three restricted access car parks: Med School Forecourt, Chancellors Court and Hills car park.
Don’t forget that University permits are not valid for:
- 90 Vincent Drive rear car park
- Ground Floor NE Multi Storey
- Red marked bays in Pritchatts Road car park
- Sport & Fitness car park – staff with a Sport & Fitness membership should contact Sport & Fitness directly.
You can find out more about car parking charges and permits here.
Hiring manager briefings
Earlier this year, Worklink and HR updated their casual work processes and delivered briefings for hiring managers on the new processes. As many managers were away or on furlough during this period, the team have planned further sessions ahead of the start of term. Attendance is strongly recommended for anyone who couldn’t attend in April. Sign up links are below:
The Worklink Project
In October 2019 the Worklink Project was launched. Since then, the service has worked closely with HR, Finance and IT Services to move work functions across departments, streamline activities and processes, and create a five-year service strategy. The project review took place last month and the project has officially closed, but this is just the beginning!
The service is now purely a student casual work service and will be focusing on enhancing opportunities for students; providing enhanced student employability provision in collaboration with Careers Network; broadening student reach; and supporting departments across campus with their varying resourcing needs. If you’re after resourcing support, simply drop into the Worklink office in the Guild where one of the team will be able to help you.
New Worklink staff
Worklink are delighted to welcome Hayfaa Joomun to the team as their new Recruitment and Operations Administrator. In her new role, Hayfaa will be assisting the team with the recruitment of casual staff and helping to manage Worklink’s social media accounts.
The team is currently recruiting for five additional Recruitment and Operations Administrators to join Hayfaa, and the new Worklink Deputy Operations Manager is due to start with the team soon (more on this in the next newsletter), so you’ll see some new faces on campus over the coming months.
The Worklink social media pages are currently being updated with new content added regularly. The team would really appreciate it if you could support them by following or liking these pages. You can find them on Twitter (@UoBWorklink), Facebook (@worklinkuob) and Instagram (@worklinkuob).
Worklink have been very busy over the summer recruiting students into numerous and varying roles. The team was proud to support July’s graduation ceremonies and are looking forward to assisting with Welcome Week 2021. As part of this, the team are recruiting for the event and have already received over 150 applications from students, which is fantastic news!
Along with the team’s annual term one plans, preparations are in place to enable Worklink to promote and support additional recruitment opportunities created by the Commonwealth Games. If you have any vacancies you would like to advertise, or queries about this, please get in touch with the team via the Worklink Portal.
Cleaning Services’ new Deputy Operations Manager
Cleaning Services are excited to announce that Lee White will be joining the team this month as Deputy Operations Manager.
Lee will bring a wealth of experience to the team, which he’s built working in a variety of cleaning services environments across the region. Most recently, he has been working with Tom Cruise on the set of Mission Impossible 7, which is certainly a conversation ice breaker!
Winterbourne House and Garden
Books Wanted for Second-hand Bookshop
Having a clear out? Think of Winterbourne when you rehome your overgrown book collection. The team happily accept donations of good quality used books for the bookshop, all proceeds from which go towards looking after the house and garden. Simply drop your books off at any time during Winterbourne’s opening hours or, if you’ve got lots of boxes, give the team a call on 0121 414 3003 beforehand so they know to expect you.
Birmingham Honey Show
Winterbourne has the privilege of hosting this year’s Birmingham Honey Show, a fun-packed weekend for all the family in celebration of all things honey. As part of the ‘Edible England’ Heritage Open Days festival, entry is FREE for all and no booking is required.
Visit Winterbourne on 11-12 September, 10:30am-5pm, to meet local beekeepers, attend live bee demonstrations and see bees at work in glass observation hives. There will also be plenty of stalls that champion all things bees and honey to browse, as well as a pollinator-friendly plant sale.
For a full list of Winterbourne events, click here.