A competition to create the next wave of Institutes of Technology has been launched by the education secretary Gavin Williamson today.
Bids are now being invited to open a further eight IoTs, backed with £120 million. The deadline for applications is 14 December 2020.
The decision to open up a further eight was announced at the Conservative party conference last year after FE Week revealed geographical issues with the first 12 IoTs as there were none planned for the north west and the east of England.
The additional institutes will ensure that “every area of the county has access to one”, Williamson said today.
Bids will only be open to regions of the country without an IoT, including the north west, midlands, east of England and parts of the south east.
Williamson said: “I’m thrilled to launch the competition to find the next wave of Institutes of Technology, which will play such an important role in levelling up skills and opportunity across the country.
“Institutes of Technology are the pinnacle in higher technical education. By bringing together Further Education colleges, universities and businesses we can make sure more people can get the skills they need to secure rewarding careers, and employers can get the talented workforce they need to grow.
“The expertise Institutes of Technology will help to deliver in vital sectors, including digital, construction and engineering, will be even more important as we build back better after the pandemic. I’d encourage any providers interested to apply.”
IoTs are a collaboration between colleges, universities and employers, and specialise in delivering higher level technical training at level 4 and 5 in STEM subjects, including digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering.
A ‘wave two prospectus’ published by the Department for Education earlier this year said all applications must meet the “strict minimum conditions” set out in wave one and be a collaboration involving further education, higher education and employer partners.
The prospectus does not detail the exact criteria, but the first IoTs had to involve colleges with at least a grade two from Ofsted and have ‘good’ financial health.