Works underway to transform college campus for cyber, IT and engineering
By Sarah Wood | 22nd February 2021
Work has started on a £3m project to create Gloucestershire College's new Institute of Technology facilities at its Cheltenham campus.
The redevelopment will see the creation of a brand new cyber and IT area, with specialist computing labs, state-of-the-art attack and defence rooms, forensic tool kits, eco study pods, a dedicated entrance and an open study and networking area. The engineering teaching and learning area is also being extensively refurbished, with dedicated spaces for students studying higher level engineering in Cheltenham.
The work is taking place following the college's successful bid to become one of 12 Institutes of Technology (IoTs) in the UK, alongside partners Weston College, the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Bath College and Yeovil College.
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 people already in work, with higher level technical training at Level 4 and above in STEM subjects.
Matthew Burgess, vice principal and CEO at Gloucestershire College, 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."
Kevin Harris, managing director at Bamboo Technology Group, partner of the West of England Institute of Technology said: "The new facilities at Gloucestershire College, funded through the IoT, will nurture and educate a critical talent pool and develop the future leaders of our industry. Students will thrive in their cutting-edge learning environment, with access to many leading cyber organisations right on the doorstep."
Gloucestershire-based engineering firms Renishaw and GE Aviation are also partners of the West of England Institute of Technology.
Dan Nicholls, senior manager - engineering early careers at GE Aviation, said: "The new engineering labs and resources at Gloucestershire College will provide all apprentices with the optimum educational workspace, complemented by outstanding training and mentoring provided by their tutors.
"With so many industry-leading local employers and the advanced educational facilities to match, top talent have all the support and opportunities they need to succeed right here in Gloucestershire."
Julia Russell, apprentice lead at Renishaw, said: "Regardless of the current economic climate, it is of paramount importance that we provide the next generation with access to the very best technical facilities and education to keep abreast of our rapidly evolving and progressive industry. Gloucestershire College's brand new engineering facilities will provide the best opportunities for students and apprentices to flourish."
Gloucestershire-based Stroud Office Interiors Ltd, has been selected to carry out the redevelopments.
Alan Berrow, contracts manager at Stroud Office Interiors, said: "It's fantastic for the team to be working on this landmark project at Gloucestershire College. The plans for the redevelopment are extremely impressive and will no doubt make it a very sought-after destination for aspiring students and businesses within the IT, cyber and engineering industries."
Cheltenham-based agency Factor 3 is also part of the project, advising on branding, interior design and graphics for the newly refurbished classrooms.
For more information on the West of England Institute of IT and IT and Engineering courses offered by Gloucestershire College, visit gloscol.ac.uk/weiot
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