Work begins on £3 million Institute of Technology at Gloucestershire College

Work has started at Gloucestershire College to create a £3 million Institute of Technology, with businesses claiming it will create a ‘critical talent pool’ in the county’s bid to become cyber capital of the UK.

First announced in April 2020, the redevelopment Gloucestershire College’s Cheltenham campus will see the creation of a new cyber and IT area, specialist computing labs, ‘attack and defence’ rooms, forensic tool kits, eco study pods, a dedicated entrance and an open study and networking area.

The engineering teaching and learning area is also being extensively refurbished with dedicated spaces for those studying higher level engineering in Cheltenham.

It is a development backed by the likes of county-based engineering giants Renishaw, GE Aviation, as well as tech firms like Bamboo Technology Group.

Kevin Harris, managing director at Bamboo Technology Group, which is based at the Cheltenham the site and also a partner of the West of England Institute of Technology, said: ‘The new facilities at Gloucestershire College, funded through the IoT, will nurture and educate a critical talent pool and develop the future leaders of our industry.

‘Students will thrive in their cutting-edge learning environment with access to many leading cyber organisations right on the doorstep.’

The work is taking place following the college’s successful bid to become one of 12 Institutes of Technology (IoTs) in the UK, alongside partners Weston College, the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Bath College and Yeovil College.

The Government’s aim for IoTs is to offer an alternative to universities by specialising in delivering higher level technical training in STEM subjects.

This will boost young people’s skills and provide a route for students taking T levels or A Levels to move onto higher level technical education. IoTs will also cater for those people already in work, with higher level technical training at Level 4 and above in STEM subjects.

Matthew Burgess, vice principal and CEO at Gloucestershire College, said: ‘In Gloucestershire, we are seeing a boom in the rapid expansion of technical, cyber and engineering companies, and it is of paramount importance that we provide our learners with access to the best facilities, tutors and employers to develop these high-value skills.’

Gloucestershire College’s Cheltenham campus is a a stone’s throw from GCHQ and the site of the nearby forthcoming Golden Valley Development cyber business park. Its recently launched cyber degree apprentices, in partnership with the University of the West of England, have also caught the attention of the government.

Julia Russell, apprentice lead, at Wotton-under-Edge-based engineering giant Renishaw, and Dan Nicholls, senior manager at GE Aviation, both also enthusiastically backed the project. Both firms are members of the West of England IoT.

Stroud Office Interiors Ltd is carrying out the redevelopment work, with Cheltenham based agency Factor 3 advising on branding, interior design and graphics.

By Andrew Merrell

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© SoGlos
Monday 22 February 2021

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