The HALO Kilmarnock Limited (The HALO), and The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at creating a ground breaking Enterprise and Innovation Hub as part of the regeneration of the former Diageo bottling plant site in Kilmarnock.
Marie Macklin C.B.E., a director of The HALO, and Professor Ehsan Mesbahi, Vice Principal Academic and Pro Vice Chancellor of UWS, put pen to paper at a signing ceremony at UWS’ Paisley campus.
The HALO is a £65m mixed use brown field regeneration that will create an inspirational and imaginative urban park, a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, lifestyle and leisure quarter and a light manufacturing facility alongside key worker private rental accommodation in the centre of Kilmarnock.
The development is being seen as an exemplary collaboration between public, private, further and higher education sectors aimed at providing a sustainable facility for the town. The agreement between UWS and The HALO aims to ensure that an Enterprise and Innovation Hub, including a digital and cyber research facility, is central to the development.
UWS and The HALO will now investigate how this partnership approach would enable research and development by the university’s students to be commercialised in collaboration with private sector companies within the Enterprise and Innovation Hub, providing opportunities for:
- Training and skills development
- Re-skilling and up-skilling
- Work placements
- Recruitment and apprenticeships
- Entrepreneurial mentoring and support
Marie Macklin, a director of The HALO, said:
“A critical element in The HALO’s success will be the collaboration between the public, private and educational sectors in order that we meet the aspirations and needs of the people of Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire and beyond.
“We are confident that, working together with UWS, we can create an Enterprise and Innovation Hub that will provide Ayrshire with a meaningful place in the fourth industrial revolution, the digital world.
“I look forward to working with UWS to develop our collective thinking in this vitally important aspect for the economy of the area.”
Professor Mesbahi of UWS said:
“We are excited by the opportunity to be closely involved in creating an Enterprise and Innovation Hub that would include digital and cyber research. This would provide intensive, varied and practical learning opportunities for our students to gain knowledge and develop the entrepreneurial skills that are in such short supply in the sector.
“There is potential for creating a distinctive learning experience that would attract students from around the world and equip local students with internationally-recognised qualifications to develop their futures as entrepreneurs.
“A further critical aspect of an enterprise and innovation hub is the opportunity to encourage original research which will have a tangible and visible effect on society.”