Universities, Colleges and Employer partners sign multi-million pound partnership deal for South West Institute of Technology

  • Partners across the South West have signed a partnership agreement signalling a multi-million pound investment in the region.  
  • The SWIOT will train thousands of students in technical subjects across the region, bringing unparalleled skills development and career opportunities  
  • The government has plans for twelve new IOTs to equip the British workforce with skills across key sectors. 

The SWIOT is a unique collaboration between a number of partner organisations, including the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, Bridgwater & Taunton College, City College Plymouth, Exeter College, Petroc and Truro & Penwith College, each investing in the development of state-of-the-art facilities for training in technical subjects to create Britain’s next generation of highly skilled technicians and engineers.  The SWIOT also draws on expertise from a group of ‘anchor employers’ who will lead its strategic direction and ensure focus on the latest industry skills – they include Oxygen House and the Met Office in Exeter, Babcock in Plymouth and TDK Lambda in Ilfracombe, with investment from the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) for the Heart of the South West and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 

Catering for up to 2,500 students in apprenticeship and full-time courses, from post-16 to Masters degree level, the SWIOT’s combined facilities will match the best available in the UK and help put the South West region at the forefront of digital and engineering education. They will include virtual and augmented reality environments, digital learning laboratories, artificial intelligence arenas, new clean workspaces, workshops, emergent manufacturing spaces with industry level equipment, and shared learning spaces. 

John Laramy, Exeter College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “Exeter College is delighted that the collective Institute of Technology submission for the South West has been successful, this shows what we can achieve when businesses, universities and colleges all work together as one. The Exeter component of the Institute of Technology focuses on digital, data and the high level skills required by employers in the Exeter area, we are therefore delighted that the Met Office and Oxygen House were a key part of the successful bid.” 

Charles Ewen, Director of Technology at the Met Office, said: “The Met Office relies on the talent of our people in order to deliver world-class technology supporting world-leading science and services.  An Institute of Technology in the South West will align the delivery of very high quality technology education and skills from a range of higher and further education providers in the region with significant benefits to learners and employers.  We are delighted to be part of this” 

Glenn Woodcock, Director of Oxygen House in Exeter, said: “The South West has an abundance of talent and to be able to provide new opportunities to our young people through the IOT is a key step forward to ensuring not only high-quality skills and qualifications, but also a strong future economy for the area. Oxygen House are excited to collaborate and support HE, FE and other businesses across the region as we look to evolve from traditional to innovative technical training.”