Apprenticeship Minister to launch West of England Institute of Technology
Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, will be ‘virtually’ opening the West of England Institute of Technology (WEIoT) today.
The official WEIoT launch is an exclusive virtual event hosted by Weston College, which brings together all the education institutions and employers that have been involved bringing it to its fruition.
In 2019 the first Institutes of Technology (IoT) were selected through a government-led competition and 12 were awarded – the WEIoT was one of these.
The WEIoT is a consortium of education providers and key employers across the West of England. It includes Gloucestershire College, the University of the West of England, Weston College, Bath College, and Yeovil College as well as a network of key local employers, including; GE Aviation, Renishaw, Bamboo Technology, Airbus, GKN Aerospace, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust, St Monica Trust, Jisc, Mayden Academy, National Composites Centre (NCC), North Somerset Council, Leonardo, and Rolls Royce.
The WEIoT brings together industry, education and research to design and deliver flexible higher-level technical learning to equip young people and those already in work with the skills to fully exploit new technologies and digital innovation to increase productivity and position the region as the ‘creators and makers’ of the future. The aim is to deliver up to 2,000 training places over the next five years.
Speaking ahead of the launch, the Apprenticeships Minister said: “I’m looking forward to launching the West of England Institute of Technology and speaking to some of the employers, including GKN Aerospace Services Limited, Mayden Academy and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, who have worked so hard to bring it to life.
“Institutes of Technology will be the pinnacle of technical training, offering higher technical STEM education and training in key sectors, such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, construction and infrastructure, and digital which will be even more important as we build back better from the pandemic. By collaborating with businesses, IoTs can deliver the technical knowledge and practical workplace skills employers are demanding – like nowhere else.
“I’m excited to speak to students and staff about the opportunities the IoT will offer them and the wider benefits it will have for the wider community.”
Gloucestershire College Principal & CEO, Matthew Burgess commented: “As our world becomes increasingly digitised it is crucial that we keep pace with technology and innovation, and ensure we have the optimum educational and workplace training opportunities for the next generation of industry leaders. In Gloucestershire, we are seeing a boom in the rapid expansion of technical, cyber and engineering companies, and it is of paramount importance that we provide our learners with access to the best facilities, tutors and employers to develop these high-value skills.
“It is also essential to the economic growth of our region that we work with key employers to ensure that the courses we develop align to the latest technical industry advancements and that they, in turn, have access to the strongest talent pool of future employees.
“We have so much potential in our region, and the Institute of Technology opens up endless developmental opportunities to learn, train and work with the best. Thanks to the IoT funding, excellent employer network and cross partnership course access, we are helping to future proof both the next technical generation of key workers and our region’s economic expansion.”
Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, commented: “We are thrilled to be launching the WEIoT, and to welcome the Minister to witness the investment that this initiative is bringing. The WEIoT will significantly influence skills development and innovation on both a regional and national basis and the WEIoT strength is working collaboratively with other institutes and employers.”
In December 2019, the consortium appointed Claire Arbery as the Director of the WEIoT. Claire commented on the importance of the investment for the area: “The WEIoT funding has created opportunities for the educational partners to invest in cutting edge technology to provide their learners and employers with facilities to drive forward the developments needed to help build recovery. The focus on technical skills and education offered by the collaborative approach will bring wider benefits and the IoT will be able to support learners who may not have thought that higher level skills training was for them using our digital connectivity to its full potential.”
The West of England Institute of Technology has secured over £3 million to invest in new world-class dedicated cyber, computing and engineering teaching zones at Gloucestershire College’s Cheltenham campus, including:
- Computing labs
- Attack and defence rooms
- Forensic tool kits
- Engineering labs
- Specialist engineering hardware
- Eco study pods
- Employer networking zone
The new WEIoT funded facilities at Gloucestershire College are expected to open in Spring 2021.
For more information about WEIoT courses, apprenticeships and facilities at Gloucestershire College, visit our WEIoT page.
To discover more about the WEIOT, visit the new website: www.weiot.ac.uk