DfE to tender for 8 new Institutes of Technology

A further eight Institutes of Technology are to be created by the government through a new £120 million tender, Gavin Williamson is to announce.

Plans for a second wave of specialist institutes are expected to be unveiled by the education secretary at the Conservative Party conference today.

It comes after the FE Week revealed geographical issues with the first 12 IoTs, which are set to open this year, as there were none planned for the north west and the east of England.

The first wave of IoTs are being created through a £170 million pot of capital funding. A collaboration between colleges, universities and employers, they will specialise in delivering higher level technical training at level 4 and 5 in STEM subjects, including digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Writing in The Guardian, Williamson said he wants “every big city to have at least one great institute of technology that can act as a focus to drive forward technical and vocational qualifications, working closely with industry and higher education institutions”.

He is also expected to announce new 16 to 19 specialist maths colleges, with the intention of opening at least one in every region, following the opening of the Exeter and King’s College London maths schools.

The education secretary, who is leading on the FE and skills brief at the Department for Education, told The Guardian he will also establish a new skills and productivity board to advise him.

“It’s wrong if we are in a situation where we are selling people courses that aren’t going to lead them into employment. The whole purpose of this is to drive up the level and type of courses that people are taking,” Williamson said.

“The reason I am setting up a skills and productivity board is to focus on what the economy needs and how I can best spend money to equip people with those skills, so we are providing the employers of Britain with the people they need for the modern economy.”

He added that prime minister Boris Johnson had been “incredibly supportive” towards vocational and technical education.