Consortium bid wins prestigious Institute of Technology funding
By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Monday, 20 December 2021
A consortium featuring the University of Sussex has been successful in its funding bid to create an Institute of Technology (IoT) after receiving the approval of the Secretary of State for Education.
The project – led by Chichester College Group (CCG) alongside the University of Sussex, University of Brighton and North East Surrey College of Technology (Nescot) – has the support of many of the region’s businesses including NatWest Group, Gatwick Airport Limited, Roche Diagnostics, Ricardo, Wates Group, Southern Water, Irwin Mitchell, Pearson, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative and Coast to Capital LEP.
Following a competitive procurement process, the winners (including six colleges and three universities) will split a £120 million capital funding pot to enhance higher level skills training across the UK. In the Coast to Capital region, the investment will create new cutting-edge facilities for higher level technical training with a focus on digital and sustainable technologies across a number of sectors including engineering and construction.
The new Institute of Technology (IoT) is set to include a new state-of-the-art centre at Crawley College, housing engineering and digital ‘Learning Factories’ with specialist satellites for delivery at locations across the region, including an Information and Communications Technology specialism at Nescot.
Professor Keith Jones, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Sussex, said: "We are delighted to be heavily involved in this exciting new project, collaborating closely with partners to help deliver a project we hope has the potential to be transformative for the region.
"By developing cutting-edge facilities for higher level technical training with a focus on digital and sustainable technologies across a number of sectors including engineering and construction, we hope to make a real difference in people's lives and to the regional economy.
"The centre will create the opportunity for people in the region to develop the skills needed for a high-wage, high-skill economy."
The project is now at pre-award stage and work will continue over the coming months to finalise plans and timings with the DfE. The IoT Hub at Crawley, which will be a new build, is planned to be complete by March 2024 but delivery is planned to commence in advance of this.
Professor Ian Wakeman, Head of the School of Engineering and Informatics at University of Sussex, said: “We are very excited to be part of the new Coast 2 Capital Institute of Technology. Widening access and participation in higher education for the local region is core to the strategic vision of the University of Sussex.
“We are enthusiastic that the collaboration around the IoT will build a new educational ladder, providing technological education and learning for people at all stages of their career, from young people to those later in their career looking to rejoin the workforce or retrain whilst in employment.”
IoTs form a key part of the Government’s policy to increase higher technical education across the country, as it aims to encourage more people to continue studying as well as attracting people of all ages to upskill or retrain.
In particular, they are designed to spearhead the delivery of higher technical education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, bring colleges and universities together with employers to equip local economies with a skilled workforce.
The CCG-led consortium’s bid is one of nine projects to have been given pre-award status in the second wave of the Government’s IoT programme.