East to bid for tech institute

West Suffolk College principal Nikos Savvas
West Suffolk College principal Nikos Savvas

West Suffolk College is leading an East Anglian bid to get funding to create an institute of technology to train future technicians and engineers.

It is working with The College of West Anglia, East Coast College, Suffolk New College and sixth forms across the region to bid for a slice of £170 million the Government is promising to fund six to 10 institutes.

WSC principal Nikos Savvas said: “We want everyone to work together because it’s a competitive process.

“It is for the region as a whole. We don’t want the money to end up in the usual places – Manchester, London Birmingham.

“We have so many national and international businesses in the region that deserve our support – if we don’t support them they will go somewhere else.”

The East’s Institute of Technology aims to provide the region’s advanced manufacturing, engineering, energy and digital businesses with a sustainable supply of technical professionals.

It will work closely with universities and businesses to create the technical higher-level qualifications needed by large, cutting-edge and highly technical infrastructure projects.

But at the other end of the ‘pipeline’, the institute’s partners will work with and train primary and secondary school teachers in the delivery of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects with the aim of raising aspirations and attracting students into the industries.

Mr Savvas says he does not want the region’s colleges competing against each other because together they can bid against far bigger city colleges, with the region’s MPs and businesses backing them.

He added: “If we work with other colleges you’ve not only got people behind you, it would also benefit all communities.

“Why not create a centre of excellence in every town?”

This would also enable the colleges to specialise it certain areas, perhaps those required by their nearby businesses.

By working with schools he believes they not only educate the teachers and pupils on what industry needs but parents, too, so they understand the opportunities available to their children.

He argued: “Pupils go home and tell their parents who say ‘I had no idea, what is Treatt?’ and they learn it’s a international company here in Bury.”