UK gov to open nine new Institutes of Technology to tackle skills shortage

Courses lasting between six weeks to a year are designed to help students space out their studies and learn at a pace that works for them

Students working with computers

The UK government has unveiled nine new Institutes of Technology to provide skills training for understaffed industries, including STEM and healthcare, in an effort to tackle regional skills gaps and level up local economies.

First announced in 2017, the institutes aim to close the UK’s skills gap by unifying businesses and educators to help teach people the skills that are desperately in demand, such as advanced manufacturing, digital and cyber security, aerospace, and healthcare.

Offering an alternative to studying a traditional three-year degree, the courses last between six weeks to a year, allowing students to space out their studies and learn at a pace that works for them.

The nine new Institutes of Technology are to be based in Blackpool, Cheshire, Chichester, Sheffield, Stoke on Trent, Southampton, Derby, Salford, and South Essex, the Department for Education announced today.

Scheduled to open in September 2022, the nine new institutes join the existing 12 that were opened in 2019, bringing the total to 21 institutes across the country.

The Department for Education also confirmed that students studying courses including T Levels will benefit from an extra £615 million investment in the 2022-23 financial year, allowing students to access an additional 40 hours of education to help them catch up on lost learning due to the pandemic.

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Commenting on the news, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said that the nine new Institutes of Technology “will boost access to more high-quality and flexible education and training – giving people the chance to learn at a pace that is right for them, while ensuring we have the skilled workforce needed to boost our economy”.

“Ensuring everyone is given the opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter their age or life stage, is a vital part of our mission to level up this country,” he added.

The new institutes are part of the Autumn 2021 Budget that pledged an additional £1.6 billion to be invested in education for ages between 16 and 19, and training by 2024-25, compared with 2021-22 financial year.

Earlier this week, the Cabinet Office unveiled its approach to “protecting and promoting” the country’s interests in the cyber space as part of the £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy which called for businesses to "play their part" in expanding talent pools in order to improve diversity across teams.

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