NEWPORT councillors unanimously backed a motion to urge university chiefs to keep courses in the city and surrounding areas, including the campus in Caerleon, at a meeting last night.

Two members of the council submitted a Notice of Motion calling on the University of South Wales (USW) managers and governors to ensure Newport courses are not “syphoned away” to other parts of south Wales, “taking with them both jobs and educational opportunities”.

During the meeting an amendment to the motion called for the matter to be “referred to Scrutiny, to invite submissions, to consider relevant issues and the council’s response”, which was backed by councillors.

The motion proposed by Lib Dem councillor Ed Townsend and seconded by Independent councillor Kevin Whitehead, said that the council will “continue to work with the university to maintain a lasting and positive relationship to benefit Newport’s students and the city as a whole.”

Both Caerleon and the city centre campus were brought under the USW banner when Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport, merged in April 2013.

The motion came after the Argus revealed the Caerleon campus needs around £20 million investment to bring ageing buildings up to scratch.

Its future is being considered by USW executives, along with four other campuses across South Wales.

During last night’s meeting Councillor Townsend said it was important that the university as Newport’s third largest employer, does not see jobs “shifted out” to other parts of South Wales.

“The motion we are putting today seeks to ensure that the university bosses keep courses in Newport to preserve both jobs and educational opportunity,” he said.

A spokesman for the university said: “The University of South Wales’ commitment to a sustainable university in Newport is absolutely unchanged. USW’s board of governors is considering the future of the university’s estate by looking critically at closely located campuses, exploring further as to how the university can concentrate its investment.”

Proposals are due in September for consultation. Around 7,000 students are taking courses at the Newport and Caerleon campuses.