OPINION: The Education Matters column with East Riding College principal Mike Welsh – The official opening of the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology

Earlier in November I was delighted to attend the official opening of the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology (IoT) at East Riding College.

Paul Downey (first chair of governors at ERC), Graham Stuart MP, Kerri Harold (chair of governors at ERC) and ERC principal Mike Welsh at the official opening of the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology.

Situated at our Beverley campus and many years in the making, the £2.1m Institute at East Riding College houses specialist high-level training facilities for engineering and technical disciplines.

It’s an excellent facility that our Bridlington engineering and construction students have the opportunity to progress to when they reach university level.

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The IoT in the Yorkshire and Humber has brought investment of over £10million of capital funding into the region overall. With its Institute, the college aims to boost employment opportunities and improve the number of suitably qualified candidates in the technical and professional jobs market.

East Riding College principal Mike Welsh.

A specialist, state-of-the-art facility such as this enhances technical delivery and sets our IoT students up for the real-life work environment.

The curriculum is designed to meet the specific needs of local employers with exciting regional developments on the horizon, such as the Humber Freeport, Yorkshire Energy Park and the Energy Estuary. The curriculum is delivered by a specialist team of engineers and computer scientists, all of whom are current or recent practitioners in their field.

Our learners will be ready for the future, whatever awaits them.

Five years after completion the average higher-level apprentice earns more than the average graduate.

Practical hands-on higher education is not about lowering aspirations or academic standards.

On the contrary, achieving employability through a focus on higher level technical skills and close links with employers is the future, and what IoTs are all about.

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness opened the new Institute, linking the opportunities it presents for young people to the climate change challenge and the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 26 taking place in Glasgow the same week.

He said: “This area and this country is at the heart of meeting the [climate] challenge, but what we absolutely have to do is have the institutions, the vision and the drive to make that happen, and share it with our young people and inspire them.

“This IoT is going to play a really important part in building the skill sets, I couldn’t be more excited about it.”

East Riding College’s IoT will develop the highly specialised skills required by employers in the engineering and construction industries, such as higher-level Computer Aided Design (CAD). The new Institute includes a CAD suite, science lab and specialist industry standard workshop so higher-level engineers can learn advanced skills.

The IoT at East Riding College is part of a regional IoT formed by a unique consortium of colleges.

Other partners include Askham Bryan College, Bishop Burton College, Craven College, Scarborough TEC, Selby College and York College as well as the University of Hull and University of York St John.

This is just the start.

We look forward to working together with our partners to help students from across the region to enter the workforce with the skills they need to fill the skills gap.

Click here to see a time lapse video of construction work on the building.