Up to £15 million of funding towards the setting up of a new ‘greenfield’ university in Herefordshire specialising in high-quality engineering courses, has been welcomed by the region’s UKIP MEP.
James Carver said the investment in the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE), announced by Universities Minister Jo Johnson, which adds to £8 million already given by the Local Enterprise Partnership, would go a long way towards addressing the growing need for engineers.
Mr Carver, who represents the West Midlands, said: “This is a pioneering project which will help address the serious skills gap we have in the economy, training the next generation of engineers for sectors such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and cyber-security.”
NMiTE takes a radical approach to training, including having a 50:50 gender balance target, six to12-month integrated work placements, and recruitment of graduates from non-traditional backgrounds, and is being supported by established universities including Warwick.
Based at Shire Hall, Hereford, it will also offer accelerated degrees, meaning students can complete their studies in two years. It is envisaged it will eventually take over all of Shire Hall, currently home also to the crown court and county council, and that an iconic academic building will be built on the adjacent car park.
The funding, which relies on the project meeting a set of milestones and criteria, will be used to develop the faculty, campus and curriculum, creating the new institution to draw talent to Hereford from the UK and beyond.
Mr Carver added: “This will also help reverse the ‘brain-drain’ of 18 to 24-year-olds who leave Herefordshire to study elsewhere and don't return, which is welcome news for the county and its economy.”
NMiTE will take its first cohort of students in September 2020, with development cohorts in 2018 and 2019, and has up to 12 years to attract a further £50 million to further develop the university from private business and individual benefactors.