Employers and employees across Plymouth and the South West are set to benefit from a new partnership which will herald a multi-million pound investment in the region.
The University of Plymouth and City College Plymouth, along with industries including Babcock, are among the partners in the new South West Institute of Technology.
The collaboration, backed by funding from the Department for Education, will establish a range of new buildings and facilities across the region.
With the licence now having been granted, work will begin to train thousands of students in technical subjects, bringing unparalleled skills development and career opportunities to the region.
The new Institute of Technology (IoT) is one of 12 created by government and they will each receive a share of around £170million in funding.
As well as the Plymouth partners, the South West IoT includes the University of Exeter, Bridgwater & Taunton College, Exeter College, Petroc, and Truro and Penwith College. Each is investing in the development of state-of-the-art facilities for training in technical subjects to create Britain’s next generation of highly skilled technicians and engineers.
The partnerships also draws on expertise from a group of ‘anchor employers’ who will lead its strategic direction and ensure focus on the latest industry skills. As well as Babcock, they include Oxygen House and the Met Office in Exeter, and TDK Lambda in Ilfracombe, with investment from the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) for the Heart of the South West and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Professor Simon Payne, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Planning) at the University of Plymouth, said:
“The new Institute of Technology is good news for the University, the city and the wider region. It will enable us to build on our existing strengths in engineering and computing and ensure we can continue to meet the demands of industry and the many challenges they are currently facing. It also enhances the strong collaborations we have with Further Education Colleges and our industrial partners. Advanced manufacturing and engineering are important for the whole south west, but especially in Plymouth, and the Institute of Technology will ensure the city and region can stay ahead of the game in these fast-moving sectors.”
Jackie Grubb, Principal and Chief Executive at City College Plymouth, added:
"City College Plymouth is constantly striving to develop and further enhance our city's technical expertise and support vital business growth. This exciting initiative will offer superb opportunities for our students, apprentices and industry partners, particularly addressing technical skills gaps in the marine engineering and digital sectors through new curriculum and courses based in new state-of-the-art new facilities."
Andy Correy, Head of Production at Babcock, said:
“This is great news for the South West and offers exciting new opportunities and facilities for those wishing to develop technical knowledge, skills and careers in the region. It forms a truly collaborative approach between HE, FE and leading employers who are all focused on ensuring this provides world class technical education and training, enabling it to become the leading region for digital, engineering and manufacturing technologies.”