Minister throws virtual weight behind Institute of Technology
By Rob Freeman | 9th October 2020
The West of England Institute of Technology - which will fund facilities at Gloucestershire College - has been opened virtually by Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan.
The WEIoT was one of 12 selected last year and the launch was held at Weston College, one of the education providers involved in the consortium with Gloucestershire College, the University of the West of England, Weston College, Bath College, and Yeovil College.
A network of key local employers are also involved including GKN Aerospace, Airbus, GE Aviation, Renishaw, Bamboo Technology, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust, St Monica Trust, Jisc, Mayden Academy, National Composites Centre,Leonardo and Rolls Royce.
The Minister said: "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."
The institute has secured more than £3million to invest in dedicated cyber, computing and engineering teaching zones at Gloucestershire College's Cheltenham campus, which are expected to open in spring 2021.
The facilities including computing lab, attack and defence rooms, forensic tool kits, engineering labs, specialist engineering hardware, eco study pods and employer networking zone.
Gloucestershire College principal and chief executive Matthew Burgess said: "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."
He continued: "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."
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