Hereford’s NMITE – the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering – has begun inviting student applications as it announced it is officially open for business.
The 50 students in the Pioneer Cohort will be the first graduates of NMITE’s Master’s Degree in Integrated Engineering in just over three years’ time after the institution received validation by the Open University.
Marches Local Enterprise Partnership chair Mandy Thorn and Hereford Enterprise Zone chair Andrew Manning Cox were among a host of business, political and educational leaders to welcome the news.
Work has already started to shape NMITE’s Skylon Campus on the enterprise zone to include space for three new centres with a total capacity to host 600 future learners within the next three to four years including degree apprenticeship and CPD short course participants.
Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, MP, said: “This government is committed to providing graduates with opportunities to develop their skillsets and embark on successful careers, and I congratulate NMITE in launching an innovative model of high-level engineering education.
“This programme will not only provide valuable experience for graduates, but will help to boost growth in engineering, drive innovation and build the vital skills this country needs.”
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has provided £10 million funding for NMITE to date and Mrs Thorn said she was delighted with the news of its validation.
“This is really wonderful news and a major step forward for what is a hugely important and innovative project. NMITE will play a vital role in developing the skills the Marches region needs to thrive in the post-Covid world and play a transformative role in shaping our economy for many years to come.
“Its role in providing high-level engineering and technology skills will help create the high-value jobs which will drive prosperity across the whole of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, and act as a beacon to attract still further investment in the region.
Andrew Manning Cox said NMITE’s successful validation was good news for both the city of Hereford and the wider Marches region.
“We have been delighted to welcome NMITE to Skylon Park where it plans to build cutting edge buildings and teaching facilities. NMITE’s Centre for Advanced Timber Technology, Centre for Automated Manufacturing and Centre for Future Skills all reflect the forward-thinking philosophy which lies behind Skylon Park.
“We are committed to acting as a beacon of excellence for our region, attracting investment in high-tech and emerging technologies, and fostering a business community which helps generate the high-value jobs which in turn will grow prosperity for the whole region for years to come. NMITE reflects all those values and will play an important role in helping our workforce make the most of their potential in the years ahead.”
“The new centres here will be based next door to the newly transformed Shell Store business incubation hub, developing a dedicated campus combining learning, skills and nurturing enterprise. We look forward to sharing a long and successful future with NMITE and the students who will learn here and go on to set up businesses at Skylon Park.”
Construction will begin in Spring 2021 with the first facilities coming into use in early 2022.
Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, President & Chief Executive of NMITE said: “We are delighted to announce that NMITE is now open and ready to recruit its Pioneer Cohort of learners. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in getting us to today including those who had the inspirational vision and tenacity to push forwards, all my colleagues, funders and industry partners who have shared this vision and supported us.
“Our attention now turns to the exciting task of inviting applications and meeting prospective learners. What 2020 has shown more than ever is that we need more work- ready engineers, and we are delighted that NMITE will be playing a role in educating engineers equipped to tackle global challenges.”
NMITE exists to address the UK’s shortage of work-ready graduate engineers and will focus on an integrated engineering programme to train and nurture learners ready to tackle global challenges – such as sustainable food production, access to safe water, and clean energy – which do not fall neatly into traditional mechanical, electrical or materials engineering boxes.
NMITE believes that engineering is an exciting and varied career path, its students will learn what an engineer does and how she or he can make life better and plans to develop graduates who will make a positive impact on quality of life, the environment and industry.
To attract students from a variety of backgrounds and at differing life stages, NMITE will consider every application individually and irrespective of the path they have travelled to get where they are today.
Engineers-in-training will experience NMITE’s “learning by doing” with regular real-life projects and no lectures or traditional exams and unlike other engineering institutions they will not be required to have a Maths or Physics A-level as these subjects will be taught within the curriculum.
NMITE is looking for entrepreneurial and socially-minded individuals who want to change the world for the better. As part of the admissions process, NMITE will be evaluating a person’s attitude, mindset and passion for engineering alongside their qualifications.
NMITE Chairman Dame Fiona Kendrick said: “On behalf of the NMITE Board of Trustees, I am delighted to celebrate this news. Like many of the Trustees, I have been involved with NMITE for many years and it is therefore especially exciting to see how the original, innovative vision we had for NMITE and for Herefordshire has come to fruition. This vision is even more relevant today than ever before as the need for work-ready engineers to help drive UK productivity is obvious to us all. It is truly remarkable what has been built from a small gem of an idea to the NMITE that opens its doors to applications today. It has been an extraordinary journey so far and we look forward to 2021 and beyond with huge enthusiasm and optimism.”
Professor Josie Fraser, Deputy Vice Chancellor, The Open University, the UK’s largest academic institution and a world leader in flexible distance learning, said: “The Open University (OU) is delighted to join forces with NMITE to help educate the engineers of the future with this new and innovative pathway. The OU, through the invaluable work of its Validation Partnerships team, collaborates with over 40 partners in the UK and abroad, and validates nearly 400 programmes across a number of different levels and subject areas. With nearly 7000 awards conferred in 2019/20 alone, we believe that this new partnership is a positive move to further broaden our scope into a much-needed area.”
The Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire who originally conceived the idea of a new, higher education offering in Hereford, said: “I am thrilled that NMITE is about to open its doors for the first time, and I congratulate Elena, her team and everyone who has joined us along the way to make this possible. This is a transformative moment for our county and for our city. Eight hundred years ago Hereford was one of the great centres in Europe for mathematics and astronomy, and 800 years later we are opening NMITE to specialise in technology and engineering. But NMITE has huge implications not only for Herefordshire, but for the Marches and for the UK itself, as a new model of regeneration and development. What a fantastic future we have in front of us: a future of prosperity for everyone, a future for our young people, a future which lifts the county socially, culturally and economically.”
Cllr David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council said: “I am delighted to hear this news from NMITE. This is great news for NMITE, for Herefordshire Council and the people of Herefordshire. A huge thank you to all those who have been involved over the past ten years enabling so much to be achieved and reaching this stage. I look forward to joining NMITE in welcoming the first cohort of students who will join in early 2021, and the thousands who will follow.”
Karen Usher, Founding Trustee and one of the original team who pushed ahead with the idea “It’s fantastic to see NMITE preparing to open its doors. The new generation of engineers who will pass through those doors will be creative, challenge ready, problem solvers and the sky will not be their limit.”