A multi-million-pound bid for a new technical education institute in Greater Manchester has been approved by the government.

Led by the University of Salford with Wigan and Leigh College as the lead FE partner, the Greater Manchester Institute of Technology brings together a number of colleges and employers in the city region and will specialise in construction, engineering, health and digital skills.

The partners – University of Salford; Ada, the National College for Digital Skills; Bury College; Tameside College; Wigan & Leigh College; GCHQ; Laing O’Rourke; Siemens; and Talk Talk – have been working together on the proposal for 18 months. The GMIoT will offer a range of courses, including new Higher Technical Qualifications and apprenticeships, designed to fast track learners into jobs in growth sectors for Greater Manchester.

Institutes of Technology (IoTs) are the government’s flagship programme designed to spearhead the delivery of higher technical education in STEM subjects. The first wave of 12 IoTs are being established across the country. The Salford-led Greater Manchester bid was submitted as part of wave 2 of the funding competition. The government has made £120 million available to proposals from areas of the country not covered by an IoT.

The GMIoT will operate on a hub and spoke model, with capital funding being invested in a new centre at the University of Salford and hubs across Greater Manchester, with investment committed to the upgrade of existing facilities across partner colleges. It is envisaged that new students will be enrolling at the GMIoT from September 2023. The GMIoT will target both school and college leavers who might be considering a career in STEM and older learners looking to upskill or retrain.

Jo Purves, Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic Development at the University of Salford, said: “We are delighted that we’ve been successful in our efforts to bring an Institute of Technology to Greater Manchester. The GM IoT will make a valuable contribution to the education and skills system in our city region and offer residents of all ages new routes into high skilled, high paid jobs.

“This brilliant news coinsides with our recent success in the Office for Students challenge competition where the University has been awarded £100,000 to develop 6 new short courses.

“Collaboration is in our DNA as a university, so we have been pleased to be able to lead this bid on behalf of our city region and bring together partners of such quality and ambition. The hard work now starts to translate our proposals into reality, and I look forward to continuing to work with our FE and industry partners to do this.”

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said:  “This is another fantastic achievement for the University of Salford and a really positive development for the city and local students. The new Institute of Technology perfectly dovetails with our commitment to position as a real hub for innovation and will provide students with a unique opportunity to further develop innovation in the future.”

Anna Dawe, Principal at Wigan & Leigh College, said: “This is excellent news and a huge boost to the promotion and delivery of higher level technical skills across Greater Manchester. For our borough it will deliver training and employment opportunities that are for the careers of the future as well as responding to current skills and workforce needs. We are very much looking forward to working with our partners and putting our plans into action.”

Justin Kelly, Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP) lead for skills & Director of Communications and Business Development at Siemens UK, said: “We welcome the news that the partnership led by the University of Salford has been chosen to develop an Institute of Technology for Greater Manchester. We know there’s a huge demand for technical skills in STEM sectors that needs to be met.

“The IoT will play an important role in helping people upskill and reskill in areas where employer demand is high, which in turn helps businesses grow, innovate and become more productive. We’re ready to play our part in making it a success.

“As one of the UK’s largest technology companies we are passionate about nurturing the digital skills Siemens needs, not just for ourselves but for our customers and the markets we serve. We are excited about the opportunity the new Institute of Technology brings to the Greater Manchester region”.