‘I went to Northampton and all I got was this blooming Education’

Developing Northampton is such a broad brushstroke of a term. As an architect, I love seeing our town-scape change (although I wish we would get a few more phone calls to do the architectural work… hint, hint) and I also love seeing our community and cultural influence grow…

I started teaching at the University about a year ago and it was wonderful to hear what students thought about our town. I have been told again and again that the University experience is excellent and that the town is very welcoming. It is clear to me that the University is not just a big player in the visual changes to our town, but that it is also now responsible for a large proportion of the Northampton demographic.

Students are transient by nature and so for Northampton to develop into a great economic fulcrum between Oxford and Cambridge, we need to go beyond welcoming students and find ways to make them stay. We must develop beyond bricks and mortar, through people that are proud to have sculpted their future amongst our streets and taverns. People are important, and training people to be the best they can inspires loyalty which in turn breeds success. Prior to the re-brand of Scroxton & Partners, MBA* had been awarded with a business award for the training of our staff, which surprised me. I didn’t think we did anything out of the ordinary. That being said, our staff are great and they stay, and I’d like to think that is down to our training.

As business owners we need to engage with the University to find ways of continuing the development of students so that they stay. We need to understand that the baton must be passed to us to take over the line. Good policy, great buildings and catch-all broad brushy statements are nothing if we, the implementers of change, do not do our bit to help keep people here to continue their personal journey of enrichment. I think Richard Branson said ‘your staff will stay if you train them well enough to leave’ and the principle is the same. Developing Northampton is more than building ‘buildings’, it is building people, and community, and culture… But when you do need the buildings for all of these people, keep us in mind!

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