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Major bid for multi-million pound technology hub in Suffolk and Norfolk edges step closer

PUBLISHED: 06:23 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:56 19 June 2018

The new technology hub would operate from current college sites, and would include a £7million boost for engineering facilities at West Suffolk College. Dr Nikos Savvas talking to a student Picture: GREGG BROWN

The new technology hub would operate from current college sites, and would include a £7million boost for engineering facilities at West Suffolk College. Dr Nikos Savvas talking to a student Picture: GREGG BROWN

Multi-million pound plans to create a pioneering institute of technology in East Anglia have leapt forward, it can be revealed today.

Technology giant BT is among the businesses backing the project. Aerial view of Adastral Park Picture: MIKE PAGETechnology giant BT is among the businesses backing the project. Aerial view of Adastral Park Picture: MIKE PAGE

Back in October five colleges in Suffolk and Norfolk – including Suffolk New College, Easton and Otley College and West Suffolk College – applied for a slice of a £170million Government cash pot to form the institute, aimed at meeting growing demand for advanced skills.

Now the collective proposal, to establish the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIoT), has become one of just 16 national projects to move into the second stage of bidding. It is being led by West Suffolk College and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and is backed by further education colleges, universities and businesses.

“It is a great honour and testimony to our collective vision to have got through to the next stage,” said West Suffolk College principal and Suffolk Academy Trust CEO Dr Nikos Savvas.

“Our proposal for an Institute of Technology for our region will play a key role in meeting employer needs, supplying the highly skilled technical workforce and graduates critical to support growth in ICT, digital, energy, engineering and agri-tech sectors.

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds has appointed Dr Nikos Savvas as its new Principal.West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds has appointed Dr Nikos Savvas as its new Principal.

“This bid offers the most exciting and significant opportunity to establish East Anglia as a global centre of technology, engineering and science excellence.”

The EIoT would run from the current sites of the five supporting colleges – West Suffolk College, Suffolk New College, Easton and Otley College, the College of West Anglia and East Coast College.

It would build on current and planned investments, including £10m for a specialist training facility for the energy sector at East Coast College, £6.5m for the University Centre at the College of West Anglia, and a £7m boost for engineering facilities at West Suffolk College.

The institute’s aim is to develop higher level skills, bosses added.

Bosses behind the project aim to supply a highly skilled technical workforce to support growth in the advanced manufacturing, engineering, digital, ICT, energy and agri-tech sectors Picture: WAVEBREAKMEDIA/GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTOBosses behind the project aim to supply a highly skilled technical workforce to support growth in the advanced manufacturing, engineering, digital, ICT, energy and agri-tech sectors Picture: WAVEBREAKMEDIA/GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

New Anglia LEP chair Doug Field said: “The institute will assist in creating a skills pipeline for technical careers and attract young people into aspirational careers. It’s vital that we provide our key sectors with a reliable and sustainable supply of technical professionals to secure our place on the global stage.”

The second stage bid for the EIoT will be submitted to the Government later in the summer.

Businesses pledge their support for new institute

If the bid is successful, catchment areas for the institute of technology would span across Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE/NEW ANGLIA LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIPIf the bid is successful, catchment areas for the institute of technology would span across Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE/NEW ANGLIA LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP

As well as developing the skills businesses need, the EIoT aims to raise levels of aspiration and attainment across the region.

It will also specifically encourage women into engineering.

The bid is presented under the shared vision of ‘equality of opportunity regardless of where you live’.

Businesses backing the project include 3Sun, Amcor, BT, CEFAS, Claas, Cogent Technology, Cooper Roller Bearings, Cranswick, and Dayle Bayliss Associates. Other firms such as EDF Energy, EEEGR, Festo Didactic, Haas, Hethel Engineering Centre and HTK are also on board.

Stuart Rimmer, principal of East Coast College, is among those backing the bid Picture: EAST COAST COLLEGEStuart Rimmer, principal of East Coast College, is among those backing the bid Picture: EAST COAST COLLEGE

Additional support has been pledged from businesses including Invoke, Links East, Lintott, Morgan Sindall, Palm Paper, Roomfoss Control Systems, SEMTA, Treatt, Vitec Group and Warren Services.

To find out more and to register your support for the bid, visit the New Anglia website.

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