Construction underway on Institute of Technology hub

Building work on an Institute of Technology (IoT) for Greater Birmingham and Solihull has begun on Aston University’s campus in Birmingham city centre.

Construction at the Aston University based site is expected to be complete by December 2021, ready to open in January 2022.

In March 2020 the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology Consortium announced that the Secretary of State for Education had formally approved the region’s IoT as part of the Government’s drive to focus on a range of specific technical needs.

The unique project is designed to create a ‘powerhouse’ for advanced manufacturing and engineering and is a collaboration between further education providers, universities and employers for the region.

The consortium is led by Solihull College & University Centre, Aston University, Birmingham City University and South and City College Birmingham as members and supported by BMET College, University College Birmingham and the University of Birmingham as partners.

The IoT will jointly design, develop and widen education and training opportunities aligned to the latest skills needs of leading-edge employers; the local, regional and national economy; and Government priorities for technical education.

The IoT will target under-represented learners, including young people taking T levels or A levels who want to progress to higher education, as well as adult learners wanting to access further training and people in employment wanting to develop new skills.

It will host a cyber manufacturing rig and new equipment for labs and workshops, including 3D printers, lathes and a coordinate measuring machine.

Professor Sarah Hainsworth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Aston University, said: “I am excited to see the construction of The Hub for the GBSIoT starting on the campus at Aston University.

“When built, this will be a fabulous resource for students and learners from across the Greater Birmingham & Solihull region to connect with each other as they develop their skills to equip the region with a pool of talented engineers. The Hub will be home to a new cyber physical manufacturing rig which will create a simulated working environment linked to advancing Industry 4.0 technology and state of the art digital facilities and I really look forward to when it becomes the new home for our IoT students.”