The 12 winning bids to create the inaugural Institutes of Technology (IoTs) have been announced.
A key plank of the government's technical education reforms, the aim of IoTs is to boost young people's skills and set them on a path to a high-skilled, high-wage career, education secretary Damian Hinds is set to announce later today.
The institutes will be collaborations between universities, further education colleges, and employers including Nissan, Siemens and Microsoft. Nine will be led by colleges, with three led by a university. They were selected from the shortlist of 16 published in May 2018.
They will specialise in delivering higher level technical training at level 4 and 5 in STEM subjects, such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering.
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Prime minister Theresa May said: "I firmly believe that education is key to opening up opportunity for everyone - but to give our young people the skills they need to succeed, we need an education and training system which is more flexible and diverse than it is currently.
"These new institutes will help end outdated perceptions that going to university is the only desirable route and build a system which harnesses the talents of our young people."
The institutes will be backed by £170 million of government investment.
Some will be located in refurbished buildings, others will build new facilities on new or current sites. They will provide a route for young people taking T levels or A levels to move onto higher level technical education and training, like foundation degrees and higher level apprenticeships in Stem subjects.
Mr Hinds said: "Institutes of Technology will help employers to get the skilled workforce they need, especially in much sought-after STEM skills and will offer young people a clear path to a great, well paid career."
Investment is 'vital'
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said the announcement was “a good down-payment” on what must become a long-term strategy for investing more in technical skills.
He added: “Our prosperity and success as a nation requires greater focus on boosting productivity and that will need far more opportunities for people to gain the skills which will support them in the labour market. These 12 IoTs will help, but far more investment is needed right across the country.
“Colleges will play a significant role in every IoT by building on their track record of improving skills. However, there are many more colleges than the successful ones which have suffered from capital spending in colleges being at a 20-year low because of reductions in government grants and commercial lending. The £170 million for IoTs is welcome but we probably need another 50 or 60 IoTs in the next decade.
“It is vital that we invest in them all sufficiently if we are to have the skilled workforce we require going forward. The upcoming Spending Review and the imminent work on the post-18 review offer must result in more investment if we want to truly be successful as an economy, and as a society in which everyone can flourish.”
The first institutes are expected to open in September.
The 12 Institutes of Technology will be led by:
- Barking and Dagenham College
- Dudley College of Technology
- Harrow College & Uxbridge College
- Milton Keynes College
- New College Durham
- Queen Mary University of London
- Solihull College and University Centre
- Swindon College
- University of Exeter
- University of Lincoln
- Weston College of Further and Higher Education
- York College