The proposed West of England Institute of Technology (IoT) – spearheaded by Weston College – has been awarded a grant of £500,000 by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
The authority said the funding would help people from a wide range of backgrounds to gain skills needed to secure jobs in the region’s leading industry sectors.
The West of England IoT will deliver a range of new technical higher skills and training programmes to support economic growth in Health & Life Sciences, Advanced Engineering & High Value Manufacturing, and Creative, Digital & HighTech industry sectors.
A key objective of the West of England IoT is to provide more training and education opportunities in these areas for women, BAME learners and other under-represented groups.
WECA approved the full business case and awarded the £500,000 investment to support the West of England IoT, which aims to deliver the following by 2023/24:
- Create 700 new jobs through apprenticeships
- Support 2,100 learners; of which 1,400 will be based in the West of England.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “Improving job opportunities, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, can fulfil their potential is one of my key ambitions for the region.
“The new West of England IoT will attract more learners to higher education from under-represented groups, addressing the emerging skills gaps in our economy. New learners will benefit from the technical skills and training programmes that will be provided by the institute – helping them into high-skilled jobs in the West of England.”
Weston College has led a collaboration which has drawn together 11 employers and five further education and higher education institutions (Weston College, University of the West of England, Bath College, Gloucestershire College and Yeovil College) to create the West of England IoT.
Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, said: “We are delighted to have received this news. Working collaboratively with other institutes and employers is key, and clearly WECA have recognised that this project will significantly influence skills development and innovation on both a regional and national basis.”
The combined foundation of expertise will extend learning beyond physical boundaries to maximise engagement of under-represented individuals through digital innovation. The next generation will be fully equipped to apply their skills, increase productivity and position the region as the ‘creators and makers’ of the future.