Truro and Penwith College celebrates multi-million pound collaborative bid success for new Institute

A multi-million pound bid to revolutionise digital, engineering and manufacturing technology education across the South West has been successful, it has been announced.

The new Institute of Technology in the South West will establish a range of new buildings and facilities across the region, with Truro and Penwith College the sole education partner in Cornwall.

The Institutes will be unique collaborations between universities, Further Education colleges, and leading employers. They will specialise in delivering quality higher-level technical training and provide employers with the skilled workforce they need.

Business leaders have joined the College in welcoming the news that will see Truro become home to a new technology hub for engineering and digital teaching.

David Walrond, Principal at Truro and Penwith College, said: “The College's success in this bid is excellent news for Cornwall. The Institute will create a range of local progression opportunities into higher education and apprenticeship provision, which is designed in partnership with the growing group of engineering and digital businesses in Cornwall. As a result, the courses and training will meet the local higher skills needs for these important industries, offering well-paid careers and making a valuable contribution to local economic growth.”

The Institute of Technology in the South West will have centres located across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, with state-of-the-art facilities proposed for Exeter, Plymouth, Barnstaple and Taunton in addition to those at Truro.

In Cornwall, Truro and Penwith College is already working with key employers and trade representatives to develop provision, including Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd, Hertzian Ltd, WES Engineering, the Cornwall Manufacturing Group and the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.

Global communications business Avanti, Restormel Machines, Teagle and Polymormedics are Cornwall-based employers who are also supporting the project.

Dr Kat Hickey, Goonhilly’s Business Development and Training Manager, said: “The proposed Institute will provide a critical link in the local skills pipeline by allowing motivated and talented individuals to gain the technical skills needed for progression into rapidly expanding technology sector in Cornwall.

“Contributing to inspiring young people to gain technical skills and pursue relevant careers locally is part of our values, and the proposed institute will tie in well with other schemes and initiatives that we’re working on internally and with external partners such as the college.”

Hertzian Ltd is a development start-up based in Truro. Christopher Weavill, the company’s Chief Operations Officer, said: “We are confident that working in collaboration with Truro & Penwith College and other key Cornish businesses we will be able to enhance the Institute’s range of digital, IT engineering specialist higher level training and apprenticeships. Having such access to outstanding provision locally, working together will aid us in meeting a desperate need within both the South West region and indeed Cornwall.”

One of Cornwall’s largest engineering firms, WES Engineering, is also a key partner in the project. Daniel Hutchings, Operation Manager at WES Engineering, said: “Cornwall’s economic growth and indeed our own business expansion is dependent upon specialist skills. Our current partnership with the college will be enhanced by the Institute’s range of engineering and digital specialist higher-level training and apprenticeships. Available locally they will meet a desperate need within Cornwall and indeed the South West of UK.”

Catering for up to 2,500 students, in apprenticeship and full-time courses from post-16 level to Masters degree level, the Institute will help put the region at the forefront of digital and engineering education across the UK.