Government announces first 12 Institutes of Technology

3 mins read

Twelve dedicated Institutes of Technology (IoTs) will be set up across the country to boost young people’s skills and set them on a clear path to a high skilled, high wage career, Education Secretary Damian Hinds (pictured) has announced.

The Institutes will be unique collaborations between universities, Further Education colleges, and leading employers including top firms Nissan, Siemens and Microsoft. They will specialise in delivering quality higher-level technical training (at Level 4 and 5) in STEM subjects, such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

IoTs form a key part of the government’s biggest shake up to technical education in a generation. This includes introducing new T-Levels from 2020 – the technical equivalent to A-Levels – and more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.

In December 2018 the Education Secretary set out his 10-year ambition to upgrade the nation’s skills to provide young people with the same high-quality training opportunities with clear pathways to skilled jobs as those in top performing technical education countries like Germany.

Research shows that only around 7% of people in England aged between 18 and 65 are undertaking training at Level 4 or 5 – one of the lowest rates in the OECD. Only around 190,000 people are currently studying for qualifications at this level compared with around two million studying across Level 3 (A Level or equivalent) and Level 6 (Degree level).

The 12 Institutes will be backed by £170 million of government investment so they have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and will tap into the latest research from their university partners to anticipate the skills needs of the future workplace. They will also benefit from additional support from local employers and partners, who will contribute valuable resources such as further investment, seconded teaching staff and equipment.

Institutes will build on and complement the further and higher education on offer in the areas where they are located but will have their own distinct identity and physical presence. Some will be located in refurbished buildings; others will be built in new facilities on new or current sites.

They will provide a natural progression route for young people taking T Levels or A Levels (Level 3) enabling them to take the next step up to higher level technical education and training (Level 4 or 5) – like Foundation Degrees and higher level apprenticeships in STEM subjects – helping to upskill the next generation and ensure employers can access a high-quality pipeline of talent.

According to the CBI, the biggest growth in jobs in the years ahead is expected to be in management and professional and technical roles. These roles will require the specialist skills which a higher technical training course could provide.

The Institutes include innovative collaborations with organisations including Milton Keynes College, Cranfield University and Microsoft Ltd; and New College Durham, Newcastle University and Nissan.

The government is carrying out a review of qualifications at Level 4 and 5 so that more people have access to a wider choice of high quality options as an alternative to a university degree. Initial findings from the review have revealed that these qualifications could be the key to unlocking the skills demanded by employers and lead to rewarding, well-paid jobs. The benefits of studying a qualification at Level 4 or 5, include increased earning potential and employability and a growing demand for qualifications at this level from employers in key sectors such as Engineering.

The Level 4 and 5 review will complement the government’s review of post-18 education and funding to ensure the system is joined up, accessible to all and encourages the development of the skills the country needs. This is central to the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which aims to make sure everyone is equipped for the jobs of the future.

Today’s announcement signals the end of a rigorous two stage competition. The pre-award stage will now commence where the detail of each Institute’s licence agreement and capital funding will be agreed. Following this, Institutes of Technology will receive their licence to operate and start to access their capital funding so that they can develop the buildings and facilities needed. The first Institutes are expected to open from September 2019.

The lead applicants for the 12 successful IoTs are:

  • Barking & Dagenham College
  • Dudley College of Technology
  • HCUC
  • Milton Keynes College
  • New College Durham
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Solihull College & University Centre
  • Swindon College
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Lincoln
  • Weston College of Further and Higher Education
  • York College

“These new Institutes of Technology will be the pinnacle of technical training – new collaborations between universities, colleges and business to make sure young people have the skills they need to build a well-paid rewarding, career, while the economy gains the skilled workers it needs to be more productive,” said Education secretary, Damian Hinds. “I’m determined to properly establish higher technical training in this country – so that it’s recognised and sought after by employers and young people alike. These Institutes are a key part of delivering this. We are transforming technical education including introducing new T Levels from 2020 and more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.

“But we want more young people to progress and get the higher-level qualifications that lead to high skilled, more rewarding jobs. 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.”