15 March 2017

Government backing for new engineering university

The government has provided £8 million of start-up funding to help establish the UK’s first all-new ‘greenfield’ university in 40 years.

The New Model in Technology & Engineering (NMiTE) aims to open the doors on its purpose-built city centre campus in Hereford by September 2019. After the initial intake of 300 students, the university intends to have a cohort of over 5,000 learners by 2032.

The initial concept for a new university specialising in engineering was launched in 2015 with the backing of engineers, leading universities, businesspeople and politicians. It is seen as a step towards reducing the estimated 40,000 shortfall of engineering graduates in the UK and positioning the country as having the high-value skills for a successful modern economy.

“Today marks the start of a dramatic change in the way the country deals with its shortfall of graduate engineers and also begins the transformation of Herefordshire’s economy,” said David Sheppard and Karen Usher, co-leaders of the NMiTE project. “NMiTE will change radically the way engineering is taught in Britain. We will also be very inclusive, providing opportunities for those high achievers who did not take maths A Level, a requirement that particularly inhibits women. In addition, we will provide pathways to engineering degrees, such advanced apprentices and the many experienced technicians and engineers in the services.”

Government will fund about a third of the £73m project, and will be used to design and build the campus in Hereford, create the institution, hire senior management teams and recruit students. Jesse Norman MP, who called for a new university in Herefordshire in 2009 and has championed the NMiTE project as Minister of Energy and Industry, called the new campus “the most significant change to the county since the construction of Hereford Cathedral in medieval times.”

The nearby University of Warwick is also supporting the new university. Its vice-chancellor, Professor Stuart Croft, said: ““The University of Warwick congratulates our colleagues developing the New Model in Technology & Engineering in Hereford, on the announcement of government financial support for their project today.

“Warwick is delighted to be able to continue to advise, and assist, the New Model in Technology & Engineering in Hereford as it develops its innovative degree level engineering teaching provision as a visionary, and thoughtful, new entrant to the higher education sector. The UK needs many more people with engineering skills at all levels and the University of Warwick is pleased to be a partner in a range of initiatives, such as this, that will help meet that need by encouraging more young people to enter engineering.”

Chris Beck

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