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Last updateThu, 04 Apr 2024 11am

SoTSIoT celebrates exciting construction milestone

IOT GROUNDBREAKING 3 002A traditional ground breaking ceremony has taken place to mark the first official day of construction on the brand new Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology (SoTSIoT), which will be located off Castle Street at the heart of the new multi-million pound Stafford station gateway regeneration scheme.

Theo Clarke MP for Stafford, Sir Gavin Williamson CBE MP for South Staffordshire, leaders of Stafford Borough Council, along with representatives from the Department for Education and SoTSIoT partner organisations joined Institute of Technology Managing Director, Georgina Barnard to turn the first soil and celebrate the official commencement of works on the site.

Supported by Department for Education funding, the SoTSIoT building will be complete by spring 2025 and ready to welcome learners from September 2025, with an expected college community of over 3,500 learners by academic year 2028/9.

Specialising in higher level technical programmes, the new employer led SoTSIoT brings together the training offer of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group in collaboration with Keele University, Burton and South Derbyshire College and Axia Solutions, with curriculum influenced by key employer partners including; Dell, Hitachi, MOOG, Siemens and St Modwen Logistics.

Institutes of Technology are a £300M government backed investment designed to significantly increase the number of learners participating in higher technical education and provide the skills that businesses need both now and in the future, to support regional and national productivity. The SoTSIoT will specialise in delivering qualifications in demand sectors such as modern methods of construction, advanced engineering, high value manufacturing, digital and health/life sciences.

IOT GROUNDBREAKING 112 002SoTSIoT Managing Director, Georgina Barnard, said: "Today’s ceremony marks an exciting construction milestone and I’m delighted that work is now underway on our brand new £22.5M Institute of Technology building. We are proud to bring this exciting new facility to the heart of Stafford and excited to see the significant impact it will have on the entire Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire region.

Continued Georgina: “The SoTSIoT is committed to developing accessible routes into higher technical education, and the new hub building will provide learners with an inspirational learning environment, the latest industry standard equipment and an agile, responsive course offer designed in collaboration with our employer partners to deliver the higher technical skills that the region needs.”

Theo Clarke MP for Stafford said: “It was an honour to see ground being broken for the new Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology. It is imperative we have the very best educational facilities for our young people and adult learners – a point I made to the minister and officials when I sought funding for this work. This is a significant Government investment that has been awarded to provide more upskilling and learning opportunities for Stafford residents and beyond.”

The development is being built by multi-award winning Speller Metcalfe Ltd, one of the UK’s leading regional building contractors, with vast experience in the public and private sectors and a key focus on innovation and excellence in construction.

IOT GROUNDBREAKING 17 002Leader of Stafford Borough Council, Aidan Godfrey added: “It is great to see work get underway on this fantastic new development which forms an integral part of the ambitious Stafford station gateway regeneration project. The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology will bring many benefits to the county town - by not only attracting new students, who will be able to enjoy an innovative learning environment, with first class facilities, but also for our local economy.”

Principal and Chief Executive of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, the lead institution behind the bid to bring the Institute of Technology to Staffordshire, Craig Hodgson, said: “I must extend my thanks to the employers and education partners who have supported the development of the SoTSIoT to this point. Great progress has been made to date, and we are excited to see how these partnerships will continue to benefit our learners for many years to come. Collaboration is one of the values at the heart of our strategy, and with this in mind, we look forward to welcoming new partners, South Staffordshire College and Stoke on Trent College into the fold in the coming months.

Concluded Craig: “Together we are committed to delivering innovative, high quality technical and professional education that meets the needs of industry in our region, both now and in the future.”