Express & Star

Workers break ground at £22.5m Institute of Technology in Stafford

Workers have officially broken ground on the site of a new Institute of Technology in Stafford in a £22.5 million project.

Construction is officially underway at the site

Construction is now underway on the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology (SoTSIoT) off Castle Street, with students expected to be welcomed on site by September next year.

Workers turned the first soil at the site on Friday joined by Stafford MP Theo Clarke, Sir Gavin Williamson CBE MP for South Staffordshire, Stafford Borough Council bosses and representatives from the Department for Education.

The institute – which is expected to be built by Spring next year – will specialise in higher level technical programmes and delivering qualifications in demand sectors such as modern methods of construction and advanced engineering.

Theo Clarke, MP for Stafford said: “It was an honour to see ground being broken for the new Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology.

"It is imperative we have the very best educational facilities for our young people and adult learners – a point I made to the minister and officials when I sought funding for this work.

"This is a significant Government investment that has been awarded to provide more upskilling and learning opportunities for Stafford residents and beyond.”

Institutes of Technology are a £300m government-backed investment designed to increase the number of people in higher technical education and provide the skills that businesses need both now and in the future, to support regional and national productivity.

SoTSIoT managing director, Georgina Barnard, added: "(Friday's) ceremony marked an exciting construction milestone and I’m delighted that work is now underway on our brand new £22.5m Institute of Technology building.

"We are proud to bring this exciting new facility to the heart of Stafford and excited to see the significant impact it will have on the entire Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire region.

"The SoTSIoT is committed to developing accessible routes into higher technical education.

"The new hub building will provide learners with an inspirational learning environment, the latest industry standard equipment and an agile, responsive course offer designed in collaboration with our employer partners to deliver the higher technical skills that the region needs."

The new site is expected to welcome a college community of more than 3,500 learners by the academic year 2028/29.

Leader of Stafford Borough Council, Aidan Godfrey said: “It is great to see work get underway on this fantastic new development which forms an integral part of the ambitious Stafford station gateway regeneration project.

"The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Institute of Technology will bring many benefits to the county town - by not only attracting new students, who will be able to enjoy an innovative learning environment, with first class facilities, but also for our local economy."

Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group is leading the training offer at the site in collaboration with Keele University, Burton and South Derbyshire College and Axia Solutions.

Principal and chief executive of the colleges group, Craig Hodgson, said: “I must extend my thanks to the employers and education partners who have supported the development of the SoTSIoT to this point.

"Great progress has been made to date, and we are excited to see how these partnerships will continue to benefit our learners for many years to come.

"Collaboration is one of the values at the heart of our strategy, and with this in mind, we look forward to welcoming new partners, South Staffordshire College and Stoke on Trent College into the fold in the coming months."