Universities Minister, Jo Johnson

Universities Minister pledges £15m funding for new engineering institution.

  • Up to £15m funding over three years for New Model in Technology & Engineering (NMiTE)
  • NMiTE will train up the next generation of engineers, providing the skills that employers need
  • All courses co-created with employers, with 6-12 month integrated work placements

Universities Minister Jo Johnson today (26 Oct)  announced funding of up to £15 million to support the establishment of a new higher education provider specialising in high-quality engineering courses.

The New Model in Technology & Engineering (NMiTE) aims to become the first new ‘greenfield’ university in the UK for 30 years, addressing the growing need for engineering talent in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and cyber-security.

NMiTE is taking a radical approach to training the next generation of engineers, including having a 50:50 gender balance target, 6 – 12 month integrated work placements, and recruiting graduates from non-traditional backgrounds. It will also offer accelerated degrees, meaning students can complete their degrees in two years.

The funding, which relies on the project meeting a set of milestones and criteria, will be used to develop the faculty, campus and curriculum, creating a new institution to draw talent to Hereford from the UK and beyond. NMiTE will increase the number of engineering graduates and professionals, addressing a vital skills gap in the economy.

It will work closely with University of Warwick and employers including QinetiQ and Heineken on the design of the curriculum, producing graduates who are ready for the demands of the job market.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:

New innovative higher education providers such as NMiTE will play an important part in educating the next generation of much-needed engineers, providing the skills and talent that employers need.

Our reforms are about giving all young people access to university and an increasingly diverse market to choose from. This will ensure a steady stream of highly-skilled graduates into the workplace, meeting the needs of business and boosting the British economy.

Today’s announcement builds on plans set out in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy which aims to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country.

Engineering graduate supply currently falls significantly short of demand. Engineering UK estimates a shortfall of at least 20,000 annually.

NMiTE will take its first cohort of students in September 2020, with development cohorts in 2018 and 2019. Some features include:

  • Hands-on project based learning with no lectures - classes will be delivered by teaching professors and practitioners;
  • Courses co-created with employers, with mandatory work placements of 6-12 months before graduation;
  • Emphasis on enhancing pathways for women with a 50:50 gender balance target, boosting the number of female engineering graduates;
  • An aim to support 25% of its student intake with bursaries and scholarships to support diversity and social mobility; and
  • A commitment to recruiting from non-traditional backgrounds – e.g. higher level apprentices, armed service leavers.

This follows the introduction of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, which aims to drive up quality and competition in higher education by making it easier for high-quality institutions to enter the market.

The government has also already set out a series of reforms to technical education, backed by an investment of more than £500 million, to ensure young people receive the training they need to take on the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, first called for a university there in 2009. He said:

This may well be the most significant development for Herefordshire since they built Hereford Cathedral. Economically, socially, demographically, I believe it will be transformative for the county. But in its vision, innovation and energy, it will also be transformative for tech and engineering education in the UK.

Founding President and Chief Executive Professor Janusz Kozinski said:

With this terrific investment from the Government we are now ready for lift-off. We will be totally reimagining and redesigning the higher education experience for the young people who will create Britain’s future.

If Britain is to lead the next industrial revolution, driven by artificial intelligence, driverless cars and 4D printing, we need to educate young people to be pioneers and creators. We need to give them the confidence to think beyond their textbooks, the freedom to be daring, and the tenacity to turn ideas into new products, new companies and even entirely new industries.

The future of higher education for engineers is arriving very soon, in Hereford.

Toby Kinnaird, MD of Barrs Court Engineering in Hereford, said:

The area is dominated by larger SMEs, many of which are key links in national and international supply chains. The university will be key to upskilling the local and regional workforce, boosting productivity and enabling many companies to innovate faster and compete globally.

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