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College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn and Wisbech will play key role in £46m East Institute of Technology

PUBLISHED: 09:23 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:23 07 November 2017

Official topping out ceremony of the new University Centre at the College of West Anglia. Pictured is principal David Pomfret. Picture: Ian Burt

Official topping out ceremony of the new University Centre at the College of West Anglia. Pictured is principal David Pomfret. Picture: Ian Burt

A West Norfolk college will play a leading role in a £46m “virtual learning city”.

Colleges and some of the region’s biggest businesses have joined forces in a bid to set up the East Institute of Technology (IoT).

They’ve launched a bid for £23m from a £170m government fund to connect colleges and firms in a “skills pipeline”.

REVEALED - £46m bid for new institute of technology



The idea is to give students the quealifications needed by key industries like offshore energy, agri-tech and advanced engineering. David Pomfret, pricipal of the King’s Lynn-based College of West Anglia (CWA) said it would focus on the engineering side.

“Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering is an area of specialism at CWA,” he said. “In the last 5 years CWA has invested £13m in two brand new technology centres at its King’s Lynn and Wisbech campuses and has a wide range of industry standard equipment including CNC lathes and milling machines, PLC’s, 3D printer, robotic welder and rolling road.

“The sector is of massive importance to the West Norfolk and Fenland economy with nearly 20pc of all job opportunities created in the engineering and manufacturing sector.”

The college was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted for apprenticeship provision in January.

It recognised its “innovative and comprehensive working partnerships with employers” and said leaders had secured significant partnership funds to provide new learning programmes to meet the skills needed by industry.

Colleges from across the region have signed up for the institute of technology bid, which is being led by the Bury-based West Suffolk College.

Mr Pomfret said: “If successful, the IoT would build upon the existing infrastructure and investment in colleges by providing specialist equipment to meet industry’s growing technical skills needs.”

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss is urging MPs from all parties across the region to support the bid.

She said it would help to establish the region as a leader in advanced manufacturing, technology, energy and engineering.

Despite a higher employment rate than the rest of the UK, East Anglia has a lack of higher level technical skilled workers.

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