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The South Coast Institute of Technology has officially launched

The South Coast Institute of Technology (IoT) is a collaboration of five further education colleges and two universities – Solent University, University of Portsmouth, Havant and South Down College, Brockenhurst College, Fareham College, Eastleigh College, and The Isle of Wight College. It will open to new students from September 2023, and is expected to welcome over 1,000 students across the seven educational partners in the first academic year.

It will deliver a wide range of flexible post-16 technical education including T Levels, Higher Technical qualifications, apprenticeships, degrees, and professional qualifications. These courses can lead to a wide range of exciting and dynamic career pathways, from superyacht engineers, or manufacturing wind turbines, to researching long-term sustainable solutions to climate change, and building virtual production film sets.

What the South Coast IOT will provide

Building work will start on seven capital grant projects to create industry-standard facilities, including the construction of new Centres of Excellence (CoE) and the expansion of existing centres across providers.

The over £13 million government investment will help fund:

  • construction of an Engineering CoE at Solent University,
  • enhanced facilities at Fareham College’s CEMAST campus in Lee-on-the-Solent,
  • a new higher education digital centre and expansion of CECAMM at The Isle of Wight College,
  • a new digital centre at Eastleigh College,
  • refurbish engineering and digital facilities across Havant and South Downs College,
  • new equipment at the marine technology centre at Brockenhurst College.
A female student points to a computer monitor while a male student looks on

The University of Portsmouth will also benefit from the funding, enhancing their provision of high-quality degree, technical, and apprenticeship programmes serving the community.

Working with industry

The South Coast IoT is central to ensuring a sufficient home-grown workforce with the right skills to meet industry needs. It is working with key employers including, the Royal Navy and Portsmouth International Port, and has support from key local employers such as IBM, QinetiQ, Leonardo, Maritime UK Solent, GKN, DDC, and Teemill.

It aims to increase education and employment opportunities across maritime, engineering and digital industries. A key priority of the initiative is to support individuals from under-represented groups to foster valuable connections and access sustainable, well-paid careers.

Matt Johnson, Director of the South Coast Institute of Technology says, “This is a fantastic opportunity for our education partners to work collaboratively with employers to provide clear career pathways into the industries where we know there are gaps.

“The maritime, engineering and digital industries are some of the most diverse and rapidly expanding sectors in our region, with tens of thousands of job vacancies for talented people. Our high-quality training, industry-expert educators, real-world curriculum and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities will help local people to live, study and work locally and realise their potential.”

The Royal Navy is delighted to be a core employer partner of the South Coast IoT, as its impact will be significant. Integral to the bidding process, through our Solent Maritime Enterprise Zone team, we see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the higher technical skills shortage not only in the region but nationally and is essential in supporting a much-needed growth in productivity particularly in the maritime, engineering and digital industries.

Rear Admiral Jude Terry, Director of People and Training, Royal Navy

Developing skills for the future

A female instructor talking to students

Building on an existing framework of extensive and well-placed initiatives, such as the Solent Maritime Enterprise Zone, the Solent region is on the cusp of a new era of growth and innovation. The Solent LEP has recently announced the new Solent 2050 strategy and exciting Solent Freeport initiative. Collaborations between employers and industries have shaped the high-level skills courses available.

From apprenticeships to degree level courses, the South Coast IoT is well-placed to develop skills and drive ambition for students preparing for their first step into skilled employment, already in work, or those wishing to retrain.