University for Suffolk moves closer
Suffolk's ambition to have its own university has moved a "big step" closer after the Government gave the go-ahead for a new 500-place technology institute in the county.
SUFFOLK'S ambition to have its own university has moved a "big step" closer after the Government gave the go-ahead for a new 500-place technology institute in the county.
It will open in Ipswich in October – initially catering for up to 200 students – after receiving a £1.2million cash injection from the Government.
The news has been hailed as "fantastic for Suffolk and Ipswich", and officials say it will deliver a major boost to the local economy.
The new technology institute will offer training in IT, telecommunications, multimedia design and digital arts – providing an educational backbone for the increasing number of hi-tech businesses in the area.
It was one of 18 nationwide given the green light yesterday in an announcement made by minister for lifelong learning and higher education, Margaret Hodge.
James Hehir, chief executive at Ipswich Council, said: "This is fantastic news for Suffolk and Ipswich.
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"It has to open in October (under the funding agreement). It will start up and then be built up over the next two to three years, either at the college or at the waterfront."
He said with several universities already using Adastral Park at Martlesham, the technology institute was a "big step" on the way to eventually achieving a university for Suffolk.
The latest development would give a higher status to the undergraduate programme at Suffolk College and raise the profile of higher education needs in the region.
A new technology institute in Ipswich could cater for 200 full-time and part-time students for the 2002/03 academic year, rising to more than 550 students over the next two years.
Suffolk College and IP-City, which also includes Agilent, BTexact and the Suffolk Learning and Skills Council, submitted a £1m bid last October under a Government scheme to create two technology institutes for each economic region in the UK.
Initially, it will be at the current Suffolk College site in Ipswich, but will receive its own building at a later date – possibly on land in the Ipswich waterfront area.
Suffolk College owns the proposed development site next to the Bellway Homes apartments on the waterfront.
Professor Dave Muller, Suffolk College principal, said: "This is an exciting development for Ipswich, Suffolk and the wider region.
"The success of the bid reflects the clarity with which our consortium has identified regional economic priorities and the innovative way we are seeking to address them."
The new institutes have been given the go-ahead in a bid to support technology-based industries and small businesses by improving the skills of people entering the field.