A multimillion pound bid to revolutionise digital technology education across the South West has reached the final phase of competition.
The Department for Education (DfE) is awarding £170 million to establish a network of Institutes of Technology across the country.
They will offer top-quality training and apprenticeships in higher-level technical skills and aim to bridge skills gaps in the economy by providing the knowledge and training that employers need. They will also deliver a range of higher level courses across the digital, engineering and manufacturing sectors.
Of 35 original applications, the South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT) bid, which involves the University of Plymouth and is led by the University of Exeter, is one of 16 to progress to the final stage of the competitive process.
The Institute, which could launch in 2021 if funding is granted, is expected to cost £25 million. Of that, £15 million would be provided by the Government, with the remaining £10 million made up by the partnership behind the bid.
The proposal draws on expertise from 12 partner organisations, also including Bridgwater & Taunton College, City College Plymouth, Exeter College, Petroc, and Truro & Penwith College, all part of the University’s existing partner college network.
They are joined by digital experts from Oxygen House and the Met Office, both based in Exeter, and engineering and manufacturing experts from Babcock in Plymouth, TDK Lambda in Ilfracombe and Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group. This bid is also supported by both Heart of the South West and the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
Catering for up to 1,549 students, ranging from post A-level to degree apprenticeship level, the Institute would help put the region at the forefront of digital technology learning across the UK.