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Institute of Technology success in the West of England

The 12 winning bids by colleges and universities to the Government’s Institute of Technology programme, which will share £170m, have been announced by the Department for Education today which will mean big investment coming to Gloucestershire College.

One of the successful bids involves a consortium of Colleges and Universities which includes Gloucestershire College and will now progress to the pre-award stage. This will provide significant investment into Advanced Engineering and Cyber facilities at the College’s Cheltenham campus and create an outstanding Higher Education and professional training offer there, with degrees to be delivered in conjunction with the University of West of England.

The application titled the South West Institute of Future Technologies (SWIFT) will potentially receive £14m of government funding, resulting in up to £3M of investment in the College’s facilities.

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, Yeovil College as well as a network of key local employers, including; GKN Aerospace, Airbus, GE Aviation, Renishaw, Weston Area Health TrustSt Monica Trust, Jisc, Mayden Academy, National Composites Centre (NCC), North Somerset Council and Tech OP Solutions.

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.

Matthew Burgess, Principal and Chief Executive of Gloucestershire College, commented: “This is absolutely fantastic news both for the College and for local businesses and students. Working with our partners we will be able to create an outstanding offer for the County with state of the art facilities to support STEM training and also provide a training facility adjacent to the proposed cyber business park in Cheltenham.”

Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, added: “This is a great opportunity to build a conveyor belt of local cyber and STEM talent for the UK’s cyber economy.  Cyber is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and I want Cheltenham’s young people in the lead. The Government has already committed £23million to develop my vision for Cheltenham as an ‘internationally recognised centre of cyber security excellence’. This new investment in Gloucestershire College will be another huge boost for local training, jobs and investment.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "These new institutes will help end outdated perceptions that going to university is the only desirable route and build a system which harnesses the talents of our young people."


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