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Education briefing - Institutes of Technology – a new wave….

  • United Kingdom
  • Education - Briefings

03-04-2020

Last month the Department for Education published its prospectus for a second wave of institutes of technology (see here). £120m has been pledged to ensure access to an institute of technology in every part of the country. The formal competition will be launched later this year but prospective applicants are invited to register their interest now.

Institutes of technology (“IoTs”) are expected to lead the way in the Government’s plans to improve the delivery of higher technical education in STEM subjects. Bringing together employers, universities and FE colleges in each region, IoTs will be dedicated to addressing technical skills training needs, as informed by regional employers. The outcome? “A skilled workforce that can drive productivity, take advantage of key growth opportunities and deliver major infrastructure projects including hospitals, schools, transport and digital projects.”

In April 2019, the successful wave one applications were announced, with twelve new IoTs to open their doors this academic year. IoTs in wave two will be limited to LEP regions not already hosting an IoT.

IoTs are effectively joint ventures involving a number of FECs, HEIs and employers in a region. IoT partners will need to think carefully about the best legal structure and governance model for the IoT – a new legal entity or simply a contractual arrangement between partners. There are many options available, each with advantages and disadvantages depending on the nature of the partners, their respective responsibilities and the transactions they will each undertake. Whatever the optimal model, the DfE requires there to be a designated accountable body which will be responsible for all the associated capital funding from the DfE and which will take a licence of the DfE owned, “Institute of Technology” brand.

As well as developing the operational vision, objectives and a financially sustainable business plan for the IoT during the pre-bid stage, applicants should not underestimate the value in mapping the legal roles and responsibilities of partners and the relationships between them, at an early stage in the process. Engagement with employers is expected to be at the heart of the IoT’s leadership and governance. Applicants will need to demonstrate a legal structure for the IoT which supports effective curriculum design and programme delivery, a governance model which is effective and accountable and clearly outline the roles of each of the partners in the delivery of the IoT activities. Clarity on these elements at the outset could be the cornerstone of a successful application.

The Eversheds Sutherland team have advised on a number of the wave one IoTs providing guidance and expertise on a range of legal issues including structures, governance, funding, capital projects, estates, tax, procurement, IP and the DfE’s standard IoT contractual terms. If your institution is considering making an application in wave two, why not get in contact with a member of our IoT team?

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