North Devon is set to be one of the major benefactors of a new £15million Institute of Technology (IoT) for the South West.
The Department for Education has confirmed the project, headed up by the University of Exeter, as one of 12 successful IoTs to be set up across the country.
The institutions will be collaborations between universities, colleges and employers, specialising in delivering high-quality technical training and providing employers with a skilled workforce.
The South West institute will see a range of buildings and facilities built across the region, with Petroc’s North Devon campus in Barnstaple set to be revitalised to include a new engineering and advance manufacturing centre.
The project will mean a bespoke engineering laboratory space, digital immersion facilities, and a new hub for training and innovation.
Local employers TDK Lambda and Applegate will also serve as key collaborators.
Diane Dimond, principal and chief executive of Petroc said: “We are delighted to be part of this fantastic initiative for our region bringing specialised facilities and exciting career enabling opportunities to northern Devon through new and innovative curriculum and to continue to work closely with TDK Lambda and the other anchor employers across the region.”
North Devon MP Peter Heaton Jones said the news was a ‘huge boost’ for North Devon.
“This is excellent news, and is a huge vote of confidence in North Devon’s employers and educators, as well as our young people who will benefit from this new facility,” said Mr Heaton-Jones.
“Competition for this funding was extremely intense from around the country. I have supported our region’s proposal and always knew we had a strong case, and so it’s fantastic that the government has listened and recognised the strength of our bid.
“I warmly congratulate Petroc, TDK, Applegate, our region’s Local Enterprise Partnership and the many other organisations who have been involved in this bid. I hope this project can now move forward, and the details of the Institute of Technology’s presence in North Devon can be confirmed.”
Petroc already has plans to build a new £1.2million centre of technology and innovation excellence at its Barnstaple site, with work expected to start in January 2020.