University accelerates skills in Dudley with Degree Apprenticeships

The University of Wolverhampton will be offering two Degree Apprenticeship courses at the new £32 million Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology (IoT), due to open in September 2021. 

As a key delivery partner of the purpose-built development based at Castle Hill in Dudley in association with Dudley College of Technology, the University is developing a new suite of Apprenticeship provision which will be taught on-site, starting with the Manufacturing Engineering Degree Apprenticeship and the Product Design and Development Engineering Degree Apprenticeship (subject to validation) – with others currently going through the validation process to be rolled out from 2022. 

The initial bid led by Dudley College of Technology to re-develop a plot of land close to Dudley Town centre by developing an Institute of Technology (IoT) received the go-ahead from the Department for Education in 2018 with work set to complete on the building in the summer of 2021. 

The IoT development will provide a teaching and research environment for higher level skills programmes in sectors where there are high levels of skills shortages and therefore employment opportunities including in advanced manufacturing, modern construction methodologies and medical engineering – critical transformational sectors for the regional economy. 

Tim Steele, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We’re really excited to see the progress that’s been made on the IoT, especially considering the challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Our academics are working alongside industry partners to create a suite of Degree Apprenticeships that are designed to meet regional skills needs and we will be offering two of our already successful degree courses from this September. 

“Manufacturing remains one of the key industries for the UK and the University is a committed driving force behind economic growth in the manufacturing sector and the region. 

“Our Apprenticeship offer is both needed and timely with the potential to help fill identified regional skills gaps in manufacturing companies of all sizes as well as meeting employers’ needs to improve levels of knowledge, understanding and skills within their workforce.” 

Neil Thomas: Chief Executive Officer, Dudley College of Technology, said“Developing a technically skilled workforce and providing an even wider range of career pathways for the people of Dudley is what this bid is all about. 

“One of the great strengths of this proposal is the degree of collaboration involved. The IoT is bringing together the further and higher education sectors, alongside local employers to shape and design the delivery of courses, in this way we will make sure we provide training that responds to the region’s STEM skills gap.” 

Partners who supported the bid include the University of Wolverhampton, Thomas Dudley, Fulcro and Dudley NHS. 

The project has changed the landscape of Dudley with the development of a three-storey 4,750m2 building sited on Castle Hill adjacent to the new Metro stop, the very Light Rail Innovation Centre and the Black Country Living Museum. The IoT will also operate from a central Telford base in conjunction with delivery partner In-Comm Training Services. 

By 2025 the IoT plans to support over 2,000 new learners following higher level technical programmes with an emphasis on Apprenticeships.   

Find out more about the IoT on the website.