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Proposed Institute of Technology is a step closer in the Solent region

Eastleigh College is one of six FE and HE providers collaborating with Solent University in a bid to become the first Institute of Technology (IOT) in the Solent LEP region.

The proposal, led by Solent University (with Brockenhurst College, Eastleigh College, Fareham College, Havant and South Downs College, Isle of Wight College and the University of Portsmouth)  to create an IOT specialising in digital technologies, engineering and marine has been selected to progress to the final in a second government-led competition.

In the first competition twelve IOTs were set up across the country. The second wave will appoint eight IOTs, specialising in delivering higher technical education at Levels 4 and 5, with £120 million capital funding to be shared amongst the winners. Proposals were invited from any local enterprise partnerships (LEP) areas that are currently not covered by an IOT.

The Solent bid focusses on the provider’s strong maritime links with core employer partners, including AB Ports, Portsmouth International Port and the Royal Navy, and highlights how a new IOT would contribute to the development of the globally leading Solent maritime cluster.

The news comes just weeks after the college announced an exciting new collaboration with Business South, Solent University and other FE colleges on the south coast to better serve employers across the region, and ensure seamless access to and involvement in career-focused education and skills development.

Paul Cox, Chief Executive and Principal, Eastleigh College, says “This is an exciting development for the College and our region. We have a strong working relationship with our academic and employer partners and the DfE’s decision to shortlist this collaboration validates all of our collective efforts. All those involved in the bid are to be congratulated on getting this far in the process. The prize now is to be able to offer even more specialist technical education to help close skills gaps in these important areas”.

Professor Karen Stanton, Solent University Vice-Chancellor, says: “We are delighted with this progress - Institutes of Technology aim to deliver technical knowledge, combined with the practical skills demanded by employers – values that are already embedded across Solent as we ensure all our students are ready for a successful future. We hope to be able to deliver these benefits to many more learners and offer further opportunities for education and growth across our community.”

The prestigious IOT status will be awarded to eight winners by the DfE later this year.