A bid by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College to create a new Institute of Technology for the logistics sector in partnership with Aston University has been cleared for further development as part of a government search for specialist technical education.
Plans for the development of the first dedicated Institute of Technology for logistics, with its ‘hub’ based at the Magna Park facility near Rugby, have been met with the approval of the Department for Education and will now proceed to the second stage.
Institutes of Technology are designed to address critical skills gaps in the economy by bringing together providers of further and higher education with industry experts and employers.
With final sign-off for the new Institutes of Technology expected later this year, this state-of-the-art facility will form part of a network of prestigious organisations across the UK designed to offer high quality training and education, including apprenticeships in higher level technical skills up to degree level and beyond.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College said, “We are delighted that our proposal has been accepted for further evaluation by the Government and we look forward to working on the next stage of the bidding process.
“Alongside our higher education partners Aston University, we are working closely with Gazeley who manage Magna Park, a leading local airport, and advanced technology company Holovis on the proposals which will include a learning hub campus for up to 1,000 students.”
Magna Park is the largest distribution park in Europe, hosting multiple logistics businesses with more than 9,000 employees in the heart of the Golden Triangle, an area with the highest concentration of logistics operations in the UK.
Once final funding is secured, the new institute will establish a dedicated educational facility providing technical education as part of a research and innovation centre of excellence designed to meet the needs of the logistics industry and the wider supply chain.
The institute will specialise in logistics and transport, as well as digital skills, at the heart of the UK’s most prominent location for the sector. Its mission is to develop skills, knowledge and competencies that will enable sustainable growth, innovation and post-Brexit prosperity and to inspire employees with rewarding jobs and careers.
Professor Edward Sweeney, Director of Aston University’s Logistics & Systems Institute said, “This is a strategically critical development aimed squarely at accelerating innovation in a sector that is vital to economic and social wellbeing. It will drive innovation through its core people development activity as well as through its focus on aligning research and innovation activities more closely with industry priorities.
“This is in line with Aston’s recently published strategy aimed at focusing our activities on our key beneficiaries: i.e. supply chain learners, the logistics and transport profession, and the Midlands region and wider society in the case of the new IoT.”
The planned hub, based at Magna Park, will deliver around 3,700 sq. m. of learning, research and demonstration space, accessible by around 25 blue-chip companies and their staff.
Both the Leicester and Leicestershire local enterprise partnership and Blaby District Council have pledged their support for the venture which they believe will have a positive impact on employment and the local economy.
It is expected that additional learning centres will be established at a local airport, and within the District of Blaby, with other centres expected to come on stream in the future, should the final proposal be accepted.
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College and Aston University will work with their partners to work towards the next stage of the application process by putting together a detailed business case for the Department for Education.