New Institutes of Technology could be based at “wholly new” institutions, not just existing FE providers, a Department for Education briefing document leaked to FE Week has revealed.
In January, the release of a green paper called ‘Building Our Industrial Strategy’, confirmed that £170 million of capital funding would be spent on IoTs.
At the time the DfE indicated that they would be based at existing providers.
The latest document, seen by FE Week, goes into far more detail about the “next steps” for IoTs, including confirmation that they could be established as “a wholly new institution”.
The DfE document, which has not been made public yet, states that the delivery model will not be “one size fits all” because of the “nationwide variance in skills needs and provision”.
Instead, bidders looking to establish an IoT will be able to “adopt models best suited to their local needs”.
Different delivery and governance models provided include “extending technical education provision from within an existing high-performing college”, “delivery through partnerships of FE and HE”, or “a group of employers partnering with an education provider to create an IoT”.
And a further option would be to establish “a wholly new institution where there is evidence that existing providers cannot meet higher level STEM skills needs”.
The government first announced plans for the institutes in July 2015, then again through its Post-16 Skills Plan in July 2016.
Until now it has also been unclear whether independent training providers would be able to get involved with setting up new IoTs, through applying for the £170 million which will come as capital funding across the next three years to 2019/20.
However, this latest update from the DfE indicates that IoT bids “can be submitted by the lead partner of a consortium, who could be either an FE college, higher education institution, private training provider or employer consortia representing more than one employer; or by the local enterprise partnership or combined authority.
The document does state that the DfE expects “the majority of proposals to emerge from the area review process which has stimulated many local areas to consider how an IoT could best be established to meet their specific needs”.
It adds: “In most cases, these are based on a FE College working collaboratively and innovatively across further and higher education and industry usually as part of a consortium.”
Proposals, it says, should be supported “in most cases” by an FE college, “unless there is robust evidence that this is not appropriate for the local area”.
Backing from the local economic partnership or combined authority and local employers identified as potential “anchor partners” is required as well.
The paper warns bidders: “We would not expect to see competing bids which duplicate provision in an area and we would expect the requirement that bids are supported by the LEP or Combined Authority to ensure this does not happen.”