New Institutes of Technology to be ‘biggest shake-up to technical education in a generation’

Government funding has been supplied to create 12 new institutes across the country, including famous WWII codebreaking site Bletchley Park

The government has today announced the creation of 12 new Institutes of Technology across the UK.

One of the institutes will be located at the former home of WWII codebreakers, Bletchley Park, which has received £28m of the total £170m. The government’s official announcement calls the development the “biggest shake-up to technical education in a generation.”

The new institutes will offer technical qualifications, higher apprenticeships and training at levels 3–5, and around 1,000 students per year are expected at Bletchley.

Prime minister Theresa May said: “These new institutes will help end outdated perceptions that going to university is the only desirable route and build a system which harnesses the talents of our young people.”

A consortium of UK universities, FE colleges and industry will help the institutes deliver courses. Milton Keynes College is the academic lead for Bletchley Park, and will be aided by companies such as KPMG, McAfee and Microsoft.

More than 500,000 highly skilled workers are estimated to be needed to fill digital roles by 2022, three times the number of computer science graduates that the UK has produced over the last 10 years.

These new institutes will help end outdated perceptions that going to university is the only desirable route and build a system which harnesses the talents of our young people.
– Theresa May, PM

In December 2018, education secretary Damian Hinds set out a 10-year plan to upgrade skills in the UK so more young people have the same-high quality training opportunities that lead to skilled jobs as those in top-performing technical education countries like Germany.

Research shows that currently, only around 7% of 16–65-year-olds in England are undertaking training at levels 4 and 5; one of the lowest rates in the OECD. To break this down, around 2 million people are currently studying for Level 3 (A Level or equivalent) and Level 6 (Degree) qualifications, but only around 190,000 are studying for Levels 4 and 5.

Hinds said: “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.”

As well as Bletchley Park’s academic lead, Milton Keynes College, 11 additional institutes will be led by:

  • Barking & Dagenham College
  • Dudley College of Technology
  • HCUC
  • 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

The institute at Bletchley Park will open for its first cohort in September 2021, and a website will be launched closer to the time through which students can apply.

This article was updated at 09.30 12/04/19

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