Institute of Technology bid for Ipswich and east Suffolk backed by MPs
- Credit: Archant
A major bid for an innovative Institute of technology for Ipswich and east Suffolk to boost technical education provision has been backed by two county MPs.
In a letter to the minister of state for higher and further education, Michelle Donelan, Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, and Therese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal MP, have outlined their support for the New Anglia Institute of Technology (IoT) proposal.
They say the proposal, which is being led by the University of Suffolk, would "bring together a varied cohort of educational institutions, county councils, and industry partners to create an innovative and impressive hub of skills provision".
The New Anglia IoT bid, which also includes East Coast College in Lowestoft as a further education partner, is one of 13 applicants to reach the final stage for the £120 million pot of government funding, which will be whittled down to eight winners.
Mr Hunt said: “Levelling up isn’t just about the north and the Midlands. Areas like Ipswich and east Suffolk really need government attention too, especially when it comes to skills.”
A previous bid for an Eastern IoT, led by West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds, was one of just three to miss out in the government's first wave of funding in 2019.
The government said this second wave of funding would help the IoT network “achieve nationwide coverage across all regions”.
The institutes are collaborations between employers, further education colleges and universities intended to deliver higher technical training in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.
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The New Anglia IoT bid would see collaboration with employers such as BT, EDF and Muntons.
The technical courses, with a direct route to skilled employment in STEM, would "hugely benefit the east" and facilitate "a much-needed boost to the region's average wages", the letter said.
It added the institute would also provide communities in east Suffolk with the relevant skills to take full advantage of the economic opportunities offered by Freeport East.
Mr Hunt added: “The New Anglia Institute of Technology is a great example of a chance to improve technical training, which gives the local population the infrastructure to succeed.
"It is important that we focus on the skills that are relevant to the job market, which is exactly what an Institute of Technology would do."