Bernie Callaghan: In the words of Shirley Bassey - “The party’s over, it’s time to call it a day...”

Bernie Callaghan bids farewell to the University of Sunderland, and to The Journal, in this, his final column

Bernie Callaghan
Bernie Callaghan

This is my final column for The Journal, as after two and half years I have decided to step down from my role at the University of Sunderland to take a change in career direction.

I am going to be spending much more time in the sun at our house in Marbella, where the children will live and go to school, and I’ll keep myself busy with a mixture of kids, golf, Visiting Professorships and non-exec roles (all genuine offers considered!)

As I leave the University, our Faculty is changing its name to the Sunderland International Business School to reflect the true nature of its activity. We have more than 2000 students on campus, more than 50% of whom are international.

We have 2000 students in London – all international, and a further 4500 students across the globe.

Hopefully, the Government will acknowledge not only the economic impact of our Universities, but also the influential role that UK education plays throughout the world in both public office and private enterprise.

Please don’t strangle it with short-term populist immigration policies.

When I started this column in 2011, the economy was still very depressed, and signs of recovery were fragile.

Now, indicators are positive, with growth returning, unemployment falling and inflation (largely) under control. However, the recovery is not evenly spread across the county, and the North East is still not feeling the true benefits of the upturn.

Optimism is higher, but there is still much work to be done.

In October 2012, I was honoured to address the Journal Fastest 50 Awards I centred on the need for the North East to pull together to have a chance to survive and prosper in the fiercely competitive global economy.

I spoke of the need for us not to act as `hostile brothers’ but to work collectively. Since then, the NE LEP has begun to find its feet, and we have witnessed the birth of the `Super Council ‘– steps in the right direction, but still a work in progress.

The combined response to the recent critical article describing the area as ‘Britain’s Detroit’ shows what can be done when the North East speaks with one voice.

I began my role as Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law on the same day as Martin O’Neill took up the reins at Sunderland AFC.

I outlasted him, and the gentleman who succeeded him.

Hopefully, under new leadership, both Sunderland International Business School and Sunderland AFC will continue to prosper and grow, along with the whole region. Thanks for reading, and good luck in whatever your future brings.

Professor Bernie Callaghan is stepping down as dean of the Sunderland International Business School

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