ELENA Rodriguez-Falcon has put her faith in Hereford – and now she is calling on others to follow her lead.

The chief executive of the group behind Hereford's proposed university was comfortably set up as an academic in Sheffield but gave that life up to lead the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE).

She sold her house in Yorkshire and bought a new home in Tupsley in the city she hopes will soon be showing others just how students should be taught one particular scientific field.

The Mexican engineer believes the way NMiTE will challenge traditional conventions will prove to be its USP.

"Learning has been didactic for centuries. If we think of it progressing from Socrates talking to scholars around trees to the huge lecture halls of today it does work for some students," she said.

"But it's not for everyone and so many employers now complain of graduates who are not ready for work.

"They need yet more training on graduate programmes when they start.

"And that's where we want to be different – our students will be working from the first week, problem solving for employers.

"They will study from Monday to Friday for 46 weeks a year – but be given the freedom to make mistakes and, crucially, to spot them."

The first 50 students are expected in September and will gain their degrees through NMiTE's partnership with the University of Warwick.

A royal charter, which would allow NMiTE to award its own degrees, is still some way off – but is not the most pressing of concerns for Ms Rodriguez-Falcon.

Instead, she is focused on getting the Hereford community to fully embrace the NMiTE project.

"We received £24million from the Government which is great but only a drop in the ocean in terms of getting a university up and running," she said.

"The council have been supportive in helping us identify the learning spaces we will need but we can all do our bit to back the dream and promote positivity which will only encourage future investors."

One particular example would be for those with available resources to act as guarantors on accommodation that will eventually be filled by students.

She highlights this as just one of many "chicken and egg situations" where they "need investment to get the students – and students to get the investment".

But the academic is confident that once the ball starts rolling that the project will really take off for the economic, social and cultural good of the city.

"I sadly don't have children but I really want to make this my legacy," she said.

"I want this to be a university for the people of Herefordshire where the doors will always be open regardless of whether you are a student or not.

"People should feel comfortable to walk inside and feel part of the project because this really is your university.

"Let's make it stand out."