Backed by more than £13 million in funding from the Department for Education, the South Coast Institute of Technology (IoT) has been officially launched.
The IoT will open to new students from September 2023 and is expected to welcome more than 1,000 students across the educational partners – including HSDC – in the first academic year.
As a collaboration between five Further Education colleges and two universities, the South Coast IoT will deliver a wide range of flexible post-16 technical education including T Levels, Higher Technical qualifications, Apprenticeships, degrees, and professional qualifications.
These courses can lead to a wide range of exciting and dynamic career pathways, from super yacht engineers and manufacturing wind turbines to researching long-term sustainable solutions to climate change and building virtual production film sets.
Building work will now start on seven capital grant projects to create industry-standard facilities, including the construction of new Centres of Excellence and the expansion of existing centres across providers.
As one of the leading Further Education providers in the region, HSDC will be utilising the £2.6m investment to upgrade its Engineering facilities to the latest industry specifications including new equipment for the benefit of its large number of Higher Education students (including apprentices) in this area of provision.
The College will also be able to use some of the investment to continue its development of facilities for Digital students, specifically Higher Education students studying data analysis or emerging digital technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
Mike Gaston, HSDC Principal and Chief Executive, said
“Institutes of Technology represent the height of technical training. By uniquely bringing together Further Education colleges, universities and businesses, they ensure people can get the skills they need to progress into better paid jobs, and that businesses get the talented workforce they need to thrive.
“Together we will provide an even wider range of career pathways for the people of the Solent and the wider region. In this way, we will make sure we provide training that responds to the region’s STEM skills gap.”
The investment will also deliver enhanced facilities at Fareham College’s CEMAST campus in Lee-on-the-Solent and create a new Higher Education digital centre and expansion of CECAMM at the Isle of Wight College.
There will also be a new digital centre at Eastleigh College, new equipment at the marine technology centre at Brockenhurst College and construction of an Engineering Centre of Excellence at Solent University, Southampton.
The University of Portsmouth will also benefit from the funding, enhancing its provision of high-quality degree, technical and apprenticeship programmes serving the community.
The South Coast IoT is central to developing the talent pipeline, ensuring a sufficient home-grown workforce with the right skills to meet industry needs. The IoT is working with key employers including anchor partners the Royal Navy and Portsmouth International Port.
Support for the project has also come from key local employers such as IBM, QinetiQ, Leonardo, Maritime UK Solent, GKN, DDC, and Teemill.
Building on an existing framework of extensive and well-placed initiatives, such as the Solent Maritime Enterprise Zone, the Solent region is on the cusp of a new era of growth and innovation.
The Solent LEP has recently announced the new Solent 2050 strategy and exciting Solent Freeport initiative. Collaborations between employers and industries have shaped the high-level skills courses available.
From Apprenticeships to degree-level courses, the South Coast IoT is well-placed to develop skills and drive ambition for students preparing for their first step into skilled employment, already in work or those wishing to retrain.
Matt Johnson, Director of the South Coast Institute of Technology, said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our education partners to work collaboratively with employers to provide clear career pathways into the industries where we know there are gaps.
“The Maritime, Engineering and Digital industries are some of the most diverse and rapidly expanding sectors in our region with tens of thousands of job vacancies for talented people.
“Our high-quality training, industry-expert teachers, real-world curriculum and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities will help local people to live, study and work locally and realise their potential.”
If you’re interested in hearing more about the courses on offer, you can visit southcoastiot.ac.uk and send an enquiry.