A Weston College-led application to create an ‘Institute of Technology’ (IoT) is one of 12 winning bids by colleges and universities, which will share £170m of Government funding.
The bid for the South West Institute of Future Technologies (SWIFT) will potentially receive £14m of Government funding and will now progress to the pre-award stage.
SWIFT is a consortium of education providers and key employers across the South West. It has been led by Weston College and includes the University of the West of England, Bath College, Gloucestershire College, and Yeovil College as well as a network of key local employers, including: GKN Aerospace, Airbus, GE Aviation, Renishaw, Weston Area Health Trust, St Monica Trust, Jisc, Mayden Academy, National Composites Centre (NCC), North Somerset Council and Tech OP Solutions.
Dr Paul Phillips, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College Group.
The Government’s aim for IoTs is to offer an alternative to universities by specialising in delivering higher level technical training in STEM subjects. This will boost young people’s skills and provide a route for students taking T levels or A Levels to move onto higher level technical education.
IoTs will also cater for those people already in work, with higher level technical training at Level 4 and above in STEM subjects. IoTs will set all learners on a path to high-skilled, high-wage careers in health and social care, advanced engineering and high-value manufacturing, and the creative, digital and high-tech industry sectors.
SWIFT’s 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.
Dr Paul Phillips, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, said: “We are thrilled to have received this news. Working collaboratively with other institutes and employers is key, and the Government have recognised that this project will significantly influence skills development and innovation on both a regional and national basis.”
Professor Jane Harrington, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost UWE, Bristol said: “This is fantastic news for the region with the potential now to have a genuinely joined up approach to skills development and training.”