July 2019 Breakfast Briefing

Date: 16 Jul 2019

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The Institute of Technology set to create greater career opportunities for Milton Keynes

With the digital industry moving on at breakneck speed, the news that Milton Keynes will open one of only 12 Institutes of Technology across the country, is set to offer significant career opportunities.

Dr Julie Mills OBE, Principle and CEO of Milton Keynes College, was outlining the plans for the new Institute of Technology to business people from across the city at a Milton Keynes Business Leaders (MKBLP) event last week. “Salaries of the indigenous Milton Keynes population are much lower than those high skilled people that local businesses are currently bringing into the city to fill digital and technical positions. The workplace is becoming increasingly polarised between high and low skilled workers, and the middle ground is disappearing.”

“The Government didn’t want another institution, deposited in the middle of a College and a University. It wanted a truly employee led establishment, specialising in delivering higher level technical STEM skills, with strong recruitment pipelines for those wanting to increase their employability and earning potential.”

With the UK’s digital economy currently outpacing the wider economy, the future is looking increasingly data driven. However, the European Commission believes there could be as many as 756,000 unfilled jobs in the European ICT sector by 2020 and, as the average digital salary in the UK is 44% higher than the national average, the skills gap needs to be bridged.

Following a £28 million investment from the Department of Education and with strong backing from leading digital organisations, including Microsoft, KPMG and McAfee, the Institute of Technology is set to play a pivotal role in bridging this gap within Milton Keynes, and the surrounding areas.

Significantly, the curriculum at the Institute of Technology will be driven by employers and 40% of students’ time will be spent within an industrial placement, applying theory to ‘live’ work environments. “Digital disruption is driving huge demand for access to skilled technology professionals. The IoT will be a regional hub for digital education and employers are central to the curriculum so we can deliver outstanding learning opportunities which provides a clear route to high skilled employment.”

During the MKBLP event, held at the Brasserie at MK College, Dr Mills also summarised the redevelopment of Block D at Bletchley Park which will house the Institute of Technology. With building well under way, and the first cohort of students expected in September 2021, Dr Mills acknowledged that the consortium behind the IoT is now on a mission to drive awareness. “The IoT is for anyone over the age of 18 looking to improve their skill-set beyond ‘A’ Levels or vocational courses, who do not necessarily want to go on to a traditional University, but still want fulfilling, high-skilled careers.”

With an objective to have 1,500 students by year 5, the consortium also have to meet recruitment equality targets set by the Department of Education, including an aim for 45% of these learners to be female by 2025.

“Between Cranfield University, MK:U and the Institute of Technology, we are creating opportunities and a wonderful pool of talent within Milton Keynes and beyond. And, if we get the IoT model right, we can roll it out across other industries in the future.”