Petroc celebrates multi-million pound collaborative bid success for new Institute of Technology.

Petroc celebrates multi-million pound collaborative bid success for new Institute of Technology for the South West.

A multi-million pound bid to revolutionise digital, engineering and manufacturing technology education across the South West has been successful, it has been announced. The new Institute of Technology will establish a range of new buildings and facilities across the region, including revitalising part of the Petroc campus in Barnstaple, transforming the facility into a multi-discipline engineering and advance manufacturing centre in the heart of North Devon.

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed the twelve successful applicants will receive a share of £170 million, awarded to establish a network of Institutes of Technology across the country.

The Institutes will be unique collaborations between universities, Further Education colleges, and leading employers. They will specialise in delivering quality higher level technical training and provide employers with the skilled workforce they need.

Of 35 original applications, an Institute of Technology for the South West region was one of 16 to be invited to the final stage of the competitive process last year. Twelve of the final stage applicants have been successful.

The Institute of Technology in the South West will have centres located across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, with state-of-the-art facilities proposed for Barnstaple, Plymouth, Exeter, Truro and Taunton.

In Barnstaple this will mean a bespoke engineering laboratory space, digital immersion facilities, other emergent manufacture capacity and additional spaces for research and learning providing a new hub for quality engineering training and innovation.

The Secretary of State has today (April 10th) confirmed the bid has been successfully chosen to receive multi-million pound funding.

The proposal draws on expertise from a number of partner organisations, including the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, Petroc, Bridgwater & Taunton College, City College Plymouth, Exeter College and Truro & Penwith College.

A group of ‘anchor employers’ will lead the direction of the new Institute of Technology and ensure focus on the latest industry skills. These employers are from Oxygen House and the Met Office in Exeter, Babcock in Plymouth and TDK Lambda in Ilfracombe. This bid is also supported by both Heart of the South West and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Catering for up to 2,500 students, in apprenticeship and full-time courses from post-16 level to Masters degree level, the Institute will help put the region at the forefront of digital and engineering education across the UK.

Diane Dimond, Principal and Chief Executive of Petroc commented “We are delighted to be part of this fantastic initiative for our region bringing specialised facilities and exciting career enabling opportunities to Northern Devon through new and innovative curriculum and to continue to work closely with TDK Lambda and the other anchor employers across the region.”

Professor Janice Kay, Provost of the University of Exeter, lead applicant for the bid, said “Being awarded one of the country’s new Institutes of Technology is a major accolade for the region. It’s a huge boost for enhancing skills and employment opportunities as part of a much wider strategy focused on developing the south west as a national and international centre for digital, data, advanced engineering and environmental businesses. By bringing local colleges together with regional employers and universities, the Institute of Technology will provide a pipeline of high skilled staff for employers moving into or growing in the area. It will help local people to benefit from knowledge-intensive jobs being created in our region and on our science parks. The University of Exeter is delighted to be working with outstanding SW Colleges, University of Plymouth and key employers.”

Professor Simon Payne, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Planning) at the University of Plymouth, said “We are delighted that this bid has been successful, and it will enable us to build on our existing strengths in engineering and computing. The Institute of Technology builds on the University’s strong collaborations with Further Education Colleges and our industrial partners. Advanced manufacturing and engineering are important for the whole South West, but especially in Plymouth with the greatest proportion of jobs in the sectors of any large city in southern England. The Institute of Technology will allow us to expand our work with employers to ensure the region can stay ahead of the game in these fast-moving industries.”

Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP), Steve Hindley, said “Today's announcement of a successful outcome for the South West Institute of Technology is a major success story for the Heart of the South West. Bringing together our outstanding colleges, our leading universities and some of our strongest businesses to deliver the skills our economy needs today and into the future, the Institute of Technology marks a significant milestone in realising the economic potential of our shared economy. HotSW LEP looks forward to working with the SWIoT to deliver critical technical skills for our digital and engineering sectors, as well as new opportunities for additional growth, better jobs and stretching prosperity across our community”.

For further information on the IoT, please contact marketing@petroc.ac.uk 

DATE: 10 April 2017