Fascinating technology

Brand new Institute of Technology finally opens in Swindon

A groundbreaking new education center with state-of-the-art technology will train future inventors and innovators across the county.

The £21million Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology on New College’s North Star campus is now up and running after a five-year journey that began with an application for government funding, struggled to meet the challenges of delivering major renovations during a pandemic, and adding finishes while welcoming the first cohort of students.

Impressed experts, business representatives and dignitaries from Swindon looked around in amazement as they were given a tour of the halls of engineering, film and television, esports, computing, d and science.

Swindon Announcer: VIP attending the official opening of the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of TechnologyVIP attending the official opening of the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology (Photo: Dave Cox)

University-equivalent courses have been designed with the help of local employers and industry professionals so that graduates have the skills and knowledge to find good, well-paying jobs and are prepared for the future. .

Neighboring universities like Oxford Brookes have worked with New College to develop the site, which fills a huge gap in the city’s educational provision and is the biggest investment in vocational training ever in the entire South West.

New College Principal Carole Kitching welcomed dozens of guests to the official opening day on Thursday and spoke about how graduate-level courses offered to post-graduate students will help transform the city.

A site with a story

She said: “The building we are in was constructed on the site of the first GWR locomotive works in 1843, where Swindon’s very first apprentices began their training.

“We are now celebrating the 21st century manifestation of vocational education that is rooted in the past and focused on the future.

“These courses will help forge the development of a highly skilled and well-paid economy and attract new business investment.

“Work with us, take this building and turn it into a powerful engine to drive our economic prosperity.”

Speaking to visitors at the end of the visit, the Adver heard nothing but praise for the state-of-the-art classrooms and optimism for the future of the region.

Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard said: “I remember walking around here when it was still a building site.

“You could see the potential back then, but to see it now with the work done and all the cutting edge technology in place is fantastic. Everything is impressive, from the media suite to the robotics in engineering.

“It’s a great day for Swindon, and a fantastic opportunity for young people with big aspirations without needing to leave town.”

South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland added: “We were determined to have Swindon be the hub of an IoT project in 2018.

“I lobbied the then Education Secretary saying it was a no-brainer to go for Swindon because with its industrial history and bright technological future there is no better place to host an institute of technology.

“We need to inspire young people and people later in life to get those critical qualifications that lead to higher wages and help our economy.”

His North Swindon counterpart, Justin Tomlinson MP, agreed: “I am blown away by the exciting opportunities this will unlock.

“The incredible high-tech facilities will inspire the next generation and the courses will maximize the chances of getting good jobs. It’s great for students, for employers and for Swindon.”

Paul Moorby is Chairman of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. He said: “As an employer, it’s exciting to see a facility that has all the key skills for the next industry revolution, whatever that may be – manufacturing, creating, tech.

“I applaud what’s happening here, it’s fantastic, it’s really world class.”

‘The next CEO of a billion pound company could be educated here. Hope the students put the facilities to good use!’