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 a collaboration 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.

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 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. Operation manager Daniel Hutching 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.”

The news has also been welcomed by Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton, who said: “I am delighted that Truro & Penwith College, working with the University of Exeter, have secured £15 million to establish the SW Institute of Technology.

“Congratulations to David Walrond and his team in securing this funding. They are joining one of 12 new organisations, sharing £170 million, to create a new kind of employer led institute offering top quality, higher level technical education in collaboration with universities, colleges and employers.

“I am delighted that local people will have the chance to develop digital and engineering skills in high quality, industry standard facilities with the latest equipment. Enabling more local people to have access to high quality education, skills training, and apprenticeships is a top priority for me, so that more people can earn higher salaries and growing industries can thrive here.”

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