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Plans for South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT)

Universities, colleges and employers across the South West have signed a partnership agreement signalling a multi-million-pound investment in the region, according to an announcement from TDK.

The South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT) will look to train thousands of students in technical subjects across the region, bringing skills development and career opportunities. The government has plans for twelve new IOTs to equip the British workforce with skills across key sectors.

The SWIOT is a unique collaboration between a number of partner organisations, including the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, Bridgwater & Taunton College, City College Plymouth, Exeter College, Petroc and Truro & Penwith College, each investing in the development of state-of-the-art facilities for training in technical subjects to create Britain’s next generation of highly skilled technicians and engineers.

The SWIOT also draws on expertise from a group of ‘anchor employers’ who will lead its strategic direction and ensure focus on the latest industry skills – they include Oxygen House and the Met Office in Exeter, Babcock in Plymouth and TDK‑Lambda in Ilfracombe, with investment from the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) for the Heart of the South West and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Catering for up to 2,500 students in apprenticeship and full-time courses, from post-16 to Masters degree level, the SWIOT’s combined facilities will look to match the best available in the UK and help put the South West region at the forefront of digital and engineering education. They will include virtual and augmented reality environments, digital learning laboratories, artificial intelligence arenas, new clean workspaces, workshops, emergent manufacturing spaces with industry level equipment, and shared learning spaces.

Speaking about the multi-million-pound partnership deal for South West Institute of Technology, Paul Swan, Financial Director at TDK-Lambda UK said: “As a design and manufacturing enterprise based in North Devon, some distance from large cities and universities, attracting and retaining sufficient engineering talent can often be difficult. The South West Institute of Technology partnership fosters the growth of and augments the collaboration within the region. We are delighted to be involved and excited about the new opportunities it will bring to young people in the South West.”

Neil Tyler

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