NMiTE is the first in a wave of new higher education “challengers” the government is encouraging to launch and will be ready to recruit Britain’s most ambitious student engineers into its initial intake in September 2019. The inauguration included a civic parade with six mayors and a full ceremony in Hereford Cathedral.

Universities minister, Sam Gyimah, said: “Innovation must remain the driving force behind our higher education system – at the heart of the sector should be the desire to cultivate and explore ground-breaking opportunities for graduates, developing the skills our country needs.

“NMiTE embodies this by engaging employers, experts and academics to develop courses and opportunities that are right for students, and for the engineering sector.

“It is my aspiration that opportunities like these are widespread, and that all students with the talent, whatever their background and wherever they are from, are able to access high quality, pioneering higher education. I hope to see many more such new providers looking for ways to increase the diversity of our higher education system, delivering for the needs of our future.”

Dame Fiona Kendrick, the chair of the Board of Trustees overseeing NMiTE’s creation (and also chairman of Nestlé UK & Ireland and deputy chairman of The Institute for Apprentices), said: “Britain desperately needs to boost productivity, technical skills and graduate employability.This pathfinding project, driven by employers, is contributing a potential solution to these challenges.

“NMiTE aims to be a centre for innovative engineering education that broadens participation – especially for women. Valuing engineering and social science equally, NMiTE will deliver life-long learning from apprentice through to postgraduate.

“What NMiTE offers to employers is competitive advantage in a market where success is constrained by limited availability of talent.”

Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, NMiTE’s Acting CEO and provost, said: “NMiTE is developing the world’s most radical learning environment for engineering students so we can deliver creative, confident, work-ready problem-solvers, with the qualities to become the country’s top engineers and industrial innovators.

“We are revolutionising engineering education by combining the most successful ways to learn from around the world into a new, bold and inspiring approach. Our fast-track programme will deliver high value and an engineering education like no other. Learning is centred around students solving practical engineering challenges, including their commercial aspects too, by working entirely on real-world problems provided by UK employers.”