Excitement is growing as an ambitious scheme to create a dedicated university campus in Barrow-in-Furness enters “a crucial stage”. 

Members of the Brilliant Barrow Town Deal Board – comprising representatives from a range of private, public and third sector organisations – visited the 2.6-hectare site provided by BAE Systems Ltd that will become home to a new campus building on Barrow Island. 

Located next to BAE’s Submarine Academy of Skills and Knowledge, the University of Cumbria-run campus will offer degree level courses for more than 1,400 students by 2031.  

Steve Cole, chief information officer and operational improvement director at BAE Systems Ltd, and chair of the Brilliant Barrow Town Deal Board, said: "This new campus building will mean that Barrow becomes a university town to give people of all ages the chance to go into higher education without having to move away. 

"The project is now at a crucial stage as we move closer to seeing activity on site including groundworks and construction. Viewing the site together as a board was such a valuable experience. We look forward to seeing the new campus building brought to life as we continue through the delivery stage of the Brilliant Barrow programme." 

The Brilliant Barrow Town Deal secured the maximum £25 million from the government's Towns Fund in 2021 for seven projects designed to help Barrow thrive for generations. The board is now working with Westmorland and Furness Council and partner organisations including the University of Cumbria, Furness College and Natural England to deliver the projects before 2026. 

The new university campus forms part of the Barrow Learning Quarter project which aims to improve access to further and higher education for a range of people and help to attract and retain graduates with high-level skills. 

It will initially deliver programmes aligned to areas including advanced manufacturing, computing, including cyber security, and supply chain and logistics. 

Brilliant Barrow Board member and University of Cumbria vice chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell, said: “This is a campus that will offer innovative, inclusive facilities and provision for a wide range of people, helping to transform lives and the communities in which people live. 

“Meeting as a board and being able to see where the campus will be located, visualising its prominent position on Barrow Island looking towards Barrow, has been a powerful exercise, not least in reinforcing the increased reach and accessibility of higher education in, for and from Barrow.” 

The Barrow Learning Quarter project also includes work to revitalise and upgrade Barrow Sixth Form College, in Rating Lane, a 14-month programme that started earlier this year.