The University of Gloucestershire, Swindon College and New College Swindon have been successful in their joint £21m bid to set up a Government-backed Institute of Technology, it was announced today by Education Secretary, Damian Hinds (10 April).
The news comes just two weeks after the University announced the launch of a suite of degree programmes in a range of engineering specialisms starting this September, and further emphasises the University's growing role offering higher level technical education to address skills gaps in key STEM areas.
Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire, said:
“Winning the IoT for Swindon is brilliant news for students, businesses and the whole community. The University of Gloucestershire is delighted to be the anchor University for the Institute. Working with our partners, we are committed to delivering a step-change in the availability of high quality professional and technical education in advanced manufacturing and engineering, life sciences, digital technologies and creative media."
“This will be great for businesses, meeting their needs for higher level skills to drive future innovation and productivity. It will be great for students who can achieve valuable qualifications all the way through to undergraduate and Masters level, through apprenticeships or stand-alone programmes, giving them a great platform for developing their careers. And all delivered from state of the art new facilities in Swindon.
“The University of Gloucestershire recently announced a strategic investment in expanding the range of our engineering programmes. Today's announcement of the IoT means that, working with partners, we can greatly expand the availability of higher and degree apprenticeships and stand-alone degree programmes in STEM subjects to meet the needs of employers across Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire."
Steve Wain, Principal of Swindon College announced the news on behalf of the steering group for the Swindon IoT. He said:
“We are absolutely delighted to receive this news. I would like to congratulate and thank all those colleagues and anchor partners who worked so hard in supporting, preparing and delivering the applications as part of the bid and for making this such a success."
“We were in fierce competition with 130 Colleges at the start of the process and through the bid stages we progressed to the final interview stage and are one of only 12 winning groups."
“Today's news is incredibly positive. This is a significant development and the £21 million investment will allow us to train over 1000 students and apprentices in higher level STEM based subjects. The project is crucial in helping to support the vision and continued focus on developing opportunities and growth for Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire."
“Timings for the project are being reviewed to enable us to work with the Department for Education to ensure that as a College, we are able to show our success in delivering demonstrable improvements since the last inspection by OFSTED. We are provisionally planning for the IOT to open in 2021. The capital investment will lead to a significant upgrade at the North Star site in Swindon and also at Cirencester College."
On receiving the news, Carole Kitching, Principal and CEO, New College Swindon said:
“New College is delighted to be an anchor partner in the development of Swindon's Institute of Technology. This is great news for Swindon and the wider region with the Institute set to become a beacon for higher level technical skills training and development, a real partnership of businesses with education providers".