50 years: A force for positive change

This year marks 50 years since Leeds Polytechnic was established. From these widely respected foundations, the modern-day Leeds Beckett University has grown and developed.

The polytechnic brought together a number of specialist colleges to meet an increasing demand for professional and technical education in the city. It was the largest Polytechnic in Yorkshire with 3,000 full-time students and 4,000 part-time students with around 450 full-time teaching colleagues.

Today, Leeds Beckett University contributes £624m to the economy and is a community of more than 24,000 students and 3,000 colleagues. Its mission is to ensure that its knowledge and resources are used to make a decisive and positive difference to people, communities and organisations.

It provides academic, professional, vocational and applied learning, which contributes to the social, economic and cultural life of the city and region. Every year, the University’s graduates include the next generation of teachers, nurses, social workers, lawyers and many other front-line workers whose expertise benefits individuals, communities and wider society.

More recently the university has helped to establish, and now leads, a group of large local organisations forming the Leeds Anchors Network. This group is working together to help grow the Leeds economy and to foster inclusive growth, so that everyone can benefit from increasing prosperity.

The University has taken its role as an Anchor institution seriously. 51% of its purchasing spend is invested with Leeds based businesses, and £20m of this spend is with businesses in the top 20% most deprived areas of Leeds*.

Throughout 2020, the university will celebrate this contribution through stories which illustrate the impact on people, communities, business and the difference it will make in shaping the future of Leeds.

*Centre for Local Economic Strategies report 2019

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North's first clinic for problem gamblers

The university’s School of Events, Tourism & Hospitality Management worked with Leeds City Council to survey the extent of problem gambling in Leeds.

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Improving mental health at nature reserves is excellent value for money

In 2019 researchers at Leeds Beckett University analysed the social value of Wildlife Trusts’ nature conservation projects which offer outdoor volunteering opportunities and programmes that support people experiencing problems such as anxiety, stress or mild depression.

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National employers attend DigitalLEAP

Representatives from major organisations showed students the pathways to a digital career at the first DigitalLEAP event in February 2019.


Meet our alumni: Ed Anderson

Ed Anderson BSc (Hons) Economics, 1972 was born in Singapore and came to Leeds in 1969 to study at what was then the Leeds College of Commerce which later became Leeds Business School within Leeds Polytechnic. 

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Student volunteers integral to running of Leeds International Festival

Leeds Beckett students have been at the heart of the Leeds International Festival since it began, with volunteers from the university helping with the organisation and running of the event.

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Challenging LGBT+ inclusion and prejudice in education

A research centre launched by Leeds Beckett University is helping to challenge LGBT+ inclusion and prejudice in education.

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Providing occupational therapy to the homeless

The university’s work with St George’s Crypt to provide occupational therapy for the homeless across Leeds, gave hundreds of vulnerable people the opportunity to access the support they needed.  


Meet our alumni: Sue and Derek Colquhoun

A chance meeting ten days into their BEd Education course was the beginning of a 40-year marriage for Sue and Derek Colquhoun.


Degree Days at Leeds Town Hall

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What is love?

Dr Divine Charura, Course Director for psychological therapies and mental health postgraduate courses at Leeds Beckett University delivered a talk at Leeds International Festival 2019 on the joy and the despair of love.

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