Williamson promises ‘wave’ of new Institutes of Technology

Education secretary wants partnerships between HE and FE to lead to a wave of eight new training providers

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has promised to establish a new ‘wave’ of new Institutes of Technology (IoT), with collaborations between further education, higher education and businesses.

Mr Williamson promised £120m to fund eight new IoTs, which will join 12 projects already earmarked for completion by the Department for Education (DfE). Four of the 12 institutes opened last year, with a remainder to follow in between 2020 and 2022.

The 20 providers will be the “pinnacle of technical training”, Mr Williamson pledged. “By bringing together further education colleges, universities and businesses we can make sure more people can get the skills they need to secure rewarding careers, and employers can get the talented workforce they need to grow.”

The universities of Exeter, Newcastle Lincoln, Brunel, Plymouth, Aston, Birmingham City, Birmingham, Gloucester, the West of England, Hull, York St John and Queen Mary are the HE providers engaged with the original 12 IoT projects.

The latest round of funds are available to IoT delivery partners in parts of the country that do not yet have an IoT planned, including the North West, Midlands, East of England and parts of the South East.

FE Week revealed today that the DfE is in negotiations with several IoTs in order to revise down the contractual student number targets. Newly published board minutes for Dudley College revealed that a meeting took place between the 12 existing institutes and the DfE in which the providers expressed a “strong sentiment” that recruitment targets were unachievable in the current climate. At least four other colleges leading on the development of an IoT told FE Week they are also struggling to meet recruitment numbers in the current climate.

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