In January 2017 the Prime Minister announced that Technical Education should be at the heart of Britain’s Modern Industrial Strategy and included an overhaul of technical education to help level the playing field by providing a credible alternative to the academic route. This levelling of the field includes £170 million in new government funding for Institutes of Technology (IoTs); this is a massive opportunity to change the way skills are delivered in this country.
The Industrial Strategy announcements signal that the government is serious about getting technical education right because it is critical for the UK economy; it is the only way to address our growing productivity and skills gaps and offers a solution not only to the ever-changing needs of industry, but also for millions of people across the country for whom a qualification for in-demand skills will be a lifeline into work. It is now for the FE Sector to grasp this opportunity.
Over the last year, Collab Group and its member colleges have been working with government, bringing ideas and potential solutions to create successful Institutes of Technology that will deliver quality STEM education across the country. We are pleased that many of our recommendations are being adopted by government, such as placing these new Institutes within existing providers in a hub and spoke model, and overlaying the priorities and recommendations given by the Sainsbury Review and Post-16 Skills Plan.
We must now look at the structure of Institutes of Technology to ensure that they deliver on their promise. Collab Group Colleges have explored the challenges and opportunities presented by Institutes of Technology and have developed a proposed structure that will positively impact learners and industry across the United Kingdom.