Institutes of Technology celebrate first wave of launch 

8th July 2021

On Thursday 8th July a nationwide celebration will take place marking the launch of the initial wave of 12 Institutes of Technology. 

Institutes of Technology (IoTs) are collaborations between further education (FE) providers, universities and employers. They specialise in delivering higher technical education (at Levels 4 and 5 – equivalent to the first and second year of a degree) with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, such as, engineering, digital and construction. 

IoTs focus on the specific technical skills needs required in their local area. They will provide employers with a skilled workforce and students with a clear route to technical employment. By bridging skills gaps, these new institutions will drive growth and widen opportunity. 

Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills said: 

“Institutes of Technology are the pinnacle of technical education, helping to develop the highly-skilled talent pipeline employers will need for the future. By bringing together Further Education colleges, universities and businesses, Institutes of Technology are unique partnerships which will help to tackle skills shortages in vital sectors, from marine engineering to healthcare, cyber security to agri-tech. Institutes of Technology are also playing a vital role in our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which is helping to level up opportunities and support people to get the skills they need to get good jobs as we recover from the pandemic.” 

A female student at work in the robotics lab

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull IoT has brought together the most innovative education providers within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership area with leading industry stakeholders to create a powerhouse for advanced manufacturing and engineering. 

The consortium is led by Solihull College & University Centre, Aston University and Birmingham City University, working alongside South and City College Birmingham as a core partner and supported by BMET College, University College Birmingham and the University of Birmingham. The partnership will jointly design, develop and widen education and training opportunities aligned to the latest skills needs of leading-edge employers and the local, regional and national economy. The group will target under-represented learners, facilitating clear opportunities for progression from school to high-level occupations. In this new video, partners and employers explain what the IoT means to them:  

The following passage was included in the recent Government Skills for Jobs white paper, with the GBS Institute of Technology highlighted as an example of good practice:  

“Greater Birmingham and Solihull (GBS) IoT is operational and has a curriculum focus on engineering and advanced manufacturing including future developments in industry. It is investing in a cyber physical manufacturing rig, which is the centrepiece of the IoT’s capital investment and will act as a ‘learning factory’ for both learners and employers to engage them in the latest manufacturing technology and help them understand the importance of skills in developing their business and competing in the marketplace. The rig is part of a £9 million Department for Education capital investment across four delivery sites in the Greater Birmingham area. The IoT has strong buy-in and commitments from key local employers like Bosch Thermotechnology and Continental Engineering. An Employer Advisory Board is working with the IoT to develop the curriculum and inform the capital investment.” 

Building work has started on the GBSIoT Hub at Aston University. It will be completed at the end of 2021 and will be an innovative hub, providing a fabulous resource for students and learners from across the region. 

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology is all about two things: economic growth and prosperity. The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology is going to give us wonderful new skills in the sectors of the economy that are really growing fast here.” 

Rosa Wells, Executive Director Employment and Skills & IOT at Solihull College & University Centre, comments: “Now is such an exciting time for the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sector and therefore this is a great moment to celebrate the strength of the partnership that is the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology. By bringing together the leading local colleges and universities who are informed by a consortium of local engineering employers and supported by our stakeholders such as GBSLEP, we have established an innovative collaboration generating opportunities for our learners and residents. With construction work on The Hub now underway, GBSIoT will be the epicentre for collaboration and opportunity in the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sector.”

John Callaghan, Principal of Solihull College & University Centre, added: “We are proud to be leading this partnership and we can witness already some of the exciting developments and opportunities emerging from the GBS IoT partnership. Innovative new curriculum, driven by our partnership with employers are creating skilled opportunities for our learners. By working together, the GBS IoT partnership is making a great start addressing skills gaps and realising the exciting opportunities that the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sector can offer.” 

Find out more about the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology: GBSIoT