The region has received the boost to degree-level education and skills training it has been waiting for, with the official opening of the new Swindon & Wiltshire Institute of Technology (IoT) at New College.
A host of dignitaries, stakeholders, employers and partners were in attendance for the showcase event, with the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by Sir Robert Buckland KC MP.
Also present were Justin Tomlinson MP, Cllr David Renard, and Paul Moorby, Chair of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Attendees enthused over the new facilities and world-class high-tech equipment, which include engineering workshops, science laboratories, a film studio, recording studio, conference area and Esports lab.
A keynote speech about the future of technology was provided by special guest Georgie Barratt, technology journalist, broadcaster and presenter of TV’s The Gadget Show.
Carole Kitching, Principal and CEO of New College Swindon said: “This marks the biggest ever investment in skills training in the region and one that others have termed ‘a revolution in skills training.'
"We know that Swindon is a higher education cold-spot, with no university and a lower percentage of young people progressing into higher education than nationally, and we also know that our employers need a pipeline of highly-skilled young people and adults to drive economic prosperity.
"The IoT is the solution to meeting workforce skills needs now and into the future and to help forge the development of a high-skill high-paid future knowledge economy.”
The Rt Hon Sir Robert Buckland KC MP said: “We need to inspire our young people, and indeed those at a later stage in life, to get those all-important higher education qualifications that lead to higher wages and higher-skilled jobs and make our economy a resilient economy for the future. I am genuinely excited to be here at this opening today.”
The IoT began teaching its first students back in September 2021.
The Insitute specialises in degree-level courses and apprenticeships across Engineering, Manufacturing, Science, Health, Creative and Media, Digital and Computer Science, and Business Management sectors.
The IoT curriculum is said to have been selected and developed with employers to ensure that courses fully meet their current and future needs and fill skills gaps.
Visitors, prospective students and partner can view the new facilities and find out more at the College’s University-Level Open Evening at its North Star campus on Thursday 17 November, 5pm-7pm.