Revealed: The winners and losers in the £170m Institutes of Technology competition

The Department for Education has today unveiled the colleges and universities in line for a share of £170m in capital funding and a licence to be named an Institute of Technology.

One day after FE Week reported delays in its competition process, due for announcement last month, the department revealed the names of the first successful applicants.

See the list of nine colleges and three universities below.

The government said the institutes will be “unique collaborations” between universities, FE colleges, and employers including Nissan, Siemens and Microsoft.

They will specialise in delivering higher level technical training at level four and five in STEM subjects, including digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

According to the DfE, all institutes must hold an Ofsted ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating at the time the licence and capital funding agreements are signed.

However, one of the colleges made it to the final list of 12 despite plummeting two Ofsted grades from its previous ‘outstanding’ in December last year.

When asked about how the grade three college could be a successful applicant, a DfE spokesperson simply said: “Swindon College, like all the other successful applicants, put forward a high-quality proposal and met our requirement to be Ofsted ‘good’ or better when they submitted their application in November 2018.

“We have been clear that all the successful applicants must hold an Ofsted ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating at the time their licence and capital funding agreements are signed. Until that happens they will not formally become an Institute of Technology.”

Pressed again on how Swindon College can qualify as one of the 12 on this the list of Institutes, the spokesperson replied: “We have nothing further to add to this statement.”

And the DfE did not say how much it planned to award each provider from the £170m capital fund, but Dudley College told FE Week it will receive £16.8 million to support its £32.5 million project. Milton Keynes College revealed it expects to receive £28 million and York College will get around £10 million in capital funding.

The four providers that had made it to the second stage but were not included in the final list were North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College, West Suffolk College, South Essex College of Further & Higher Education and Newcastle College Group.

A NCG spokesperson told FE Week it had decided to withdraw the bid for an IoT to “focus on the development of Newcastle College University Centre”.

But FE Week has previously reported the government had broken its own rules by putting NCG through the final bid despite its three Ofsted rating.

A spokesperson for the department explained at the time that NCG would need to improve its Ofsted rating by November to have a chance of getting approved. Earlier this month, Ofsted published the results of a monitoring visit, which found the college had made ‘reasonable progress’.

Meanwhile, Marion Plant, principal and chief executive of NWSLC said: “We are disappointed that our bid for grant funding to create a dedicated IoT for logistics has not been taken forward by the DfE. In fact, none of the successful projects are focused on the logistics sector, which is a great pity considering the requirements of the industry.”

Angela O’Donoghue, principal and chief executive of South Essex College, also said she was the college was “disappointed not to have been successful” in its IoT bid.

IoTs were first mooted back in 2015 and are intended to bring together FE and HE providers along with employers to deliver technical skills training, with a particular focus on levels four and five.

According to application guidance from the DfE, they will offer “higher-level technical skills on a par with more academic routes” and will “achieve the same level of prestige as universities”.

The DfE said today the pre-award stage will now start, where the details of each Institutes licence agreements and capital funding will be agreed. IoTs will then receive their licence to operate and start to access their capital to develop the buildings and facilities they need.

The first Institutes are expected to open from September 2019.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “These new IoTs will be the pinnacle of technical training – new collaborations between universities, colleges and business to make sure young people have the skills they need to build a well-paid rewarding, career, while the economy gains the skilled workers it needs to be more productive.”

He added they will help employers get “the skilled workforce they need, especially in much sought-after STEM skills and will offer young people a clear path to a great, well paid career”.

But a spokesperson for the Association of Colleges pointed out there are “many more colleges than the successful ones which have suffered from capital spending in colleges being at a 20-year low because of reductions in government grants and commercial lending”.

“The £170m for IoTs is welcome but we probably need another 50 or 60 IoTs in the next decade.”

The 12 providers leading the successful IoT bids are:

University of Exeter

Queen Mary University London

Weston College of Further and Higher Education

York College

Milton Keynes College

University of Lincoln

Barking & Dagenham College

New College, Durham

Harrow & Uxbridge Colleges

Solihull College

Dudley College of Technology

Swindon College

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