Members of the Midlands Enterprise Universities network are part of Government plans to drive up skills to support business growth.

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and the University of Wolverhampton have secured funding to develop new short courses, a key part of the Government’s lifelong learning programme.

And Derby University is part of a successful coalition of universities and further education colleges which will form a new Institute of Technology, focusing on engineering, manufacturing and digital skills.

Based in the heart of the East Midlands, the IoT will specialise in programmes such as Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies; Information and Communication Technology; Science and Mathematics and Construction, Planning and the built environment.

The IoT will be working closely with global powerhouse employers, including Rolls-Royce, Toyota, National Grid ESO, Alstom, Fujitsu, Uniper and Bloc Digital, to ensure programmes level up the workforce with the right skills.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted that our application for an Institute of Technology in the heart of the region has been selected.

“Through our strong industry links, business experience and experience offering placements and apprenticeships in the engineering and technology sector, we understand the importance of ensuring graduates are ready to meet the region’s skills needs.

“As an applied university, with specialisms in areas such as data science, advanced manufacturing, architectural technology and low carbon business support, we are well equipped to help deliver the Institute alongside our further and higher education partners from Derby and Loughborough, and within industry.”

DMU and Wolverhampton are among just 22 universities across the UK to pilot the new higher education short courses.

Their bids were supported by business champions including Barclays Bank, GE and will help people to fit training around their lives while helping to plug local skills gaps.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Ensuring everyone is given the opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter their age or life stage, is a vital part of our mission to level up this country.

“These measures, including our new short courses and nine new Institutes of Technology, will boost access to more high-quality and flexible education and training – giving people the chance to learn at a pace that is right for them, while ensuring we have the skilled workforce needed to boost our economy.”