19th May 2021
A bid led by Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) to develop a Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology (IoT) has received first stage go ahead from the Department for Education.
If successful at stage two, the c.£13M IoT development will bring together industry, education and research to jointly design and develop education and training opportunities aligned to the skills needed by employers, the local, regional and national economy and Government priorities for technical education. The IoT hub, which will be Newcastle-under-Lyme based, will see employers and academia working collaboratively to widen participation in targeted STEM areas, with a distinct focus on manufacturing and engineering across a wide range of specialisms, construction and the built environment, science and digital innovation.
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire IoT application is driven by a NSCG-led consortium of education providers and key employers from across the Midlands, including Keele University, Burton and South Derbyshire College, Shrewsbury Colleges Group, Axia Solutions, Siemens, Moog Aircraft Group and Fujitsu UK.
IOTs form a key part of the Government’s wider reform of technical education, and are the flagship programme designed to spearhead the delivery of higher technical education in STEM subjects. They are intended to bring together employers with Further Education Colleges and Universities to create a new type of institution with a prestigious and distinct identity, offering high quality technical education with clear routes to high skilled employment.
Karen Dobson OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, said: "We are excited to be leading this innovative collaboration to develop a prestigious Institute of Technology for the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area. As an Ofsted Outstanding provider, we see this as a transformational opportunity that allows us to build on our Apprenticeship and Level 3 strengths and further enhance our Level 4 and 5 provision, by targeting and addressing the higher-level technical skills gap that employers are telling us about. The IoT, supported by significant capital investment, will meet the needs of industry by improving the level of skills and productivity in the area, in turn making a tangible difference to the economic success of Staffordshire and beyond.”
“We are hugely grateful to our employer partners and peers in the education sector for their support in compiling the first stage of the application, and we are looking forward working closely with them in the future, as we turn the vision into reality.”
Newcastle-under-Lyme MP Aaron Bell welcomed the news saying: “I am delighted with this announcement; it is fantastic news for the residents of Newcastle-under-Lyme and the wider Staffordshire region. The IoT will offer high quality courses and boost people’s technical skills, bringing long-term economic benefits to the area.”
Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice Chancellor of Keele University, said: “The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire IoT will play an important role in establishing the area as a national hub for manufacturing, engineering and digital expertise. The project application has been a shining example of excellent partnership working, seeing education and industry come together to create a vision for something very special. We look forward to our ongoing involvement in the IoT and working with the colleges to develop a curriculum which meets the skills challenges of the future in a positive and forward thinking way.”
The second stage of the process to secure final go-ahead for the project is now underway, with ultimate decisions and Government backing expected towards the end of this year.