Minister visits the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology to launch new skills courses

13 Oct 2021

Image above L-R: Chris Baish, Managing Director of the IoT; Carole Kitching, Principal of New College Swindon; Rob Wheeler, Head of Digital Engineering, Nationwide and Chair of IoT Employer Group; Michelle Donelan, Minister of State for Higher and Further Education; Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council.

Working adults across the region will be offered free digital skills courses delivered by the IoT as part of a Government funded project to rapidly upskill employees in STEM sectors including engineering, digital and construction – building on the Prime Minister’s pledge to get more people into higher wage, higher skilled jobs. The project was launched on BBC Breakfast today by Michelle Donelan, Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, who visited the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology this week.

Across the country, sixty-five courses will be available from later this month at ten Institutes of Technology, including Swindon and Wiltshire's, supporting up to 4,000 adults to study flexibly and allowing more people to secure well-paid jobs. The free courses will help thousands of working adults to rapidly upskill or retrain, as part of the government’s drive to plug skills gaps and boost access to more high-quality training alternatives.

Sixty-five short and modular courses will start to roll out from later this month across England in sought-after STEM subjects. Courses at Swindon will include Cyber Security, Cloud Management, Agile Methodology, DevOps, and Data Analysis.

Course content is closely related to full modules offered in our Foundation Degrees which are accredited with the University of Gloucestershire and pitched at Level 4. Our courses are also cross-referenced to several apprenticeship standards; Data Analyst, Cyber Security Technologist and Dev Ops Engineer - giving business and employees an opportunity to further develop their skills. Courses are taught by industry experts, who will each bring their own knowledge and experience to enrich the learning experience.

The programmes will be available to working adults aged 19 and over, with priority given to those employed locally to the IoT, in related industries. The IoTs have worked in partnership with local employers to ensure courses address existing skills gaps, meaning employees from both large and SME businesses will be able to gain in demand new skills or retrain – so they can progress on to higher skilled, higher paid jobs in their area.

The government’s network of Institutes of Technology – collaborations between leading employers, further education colleges and universities – specialise in delivering high-quality Higher Technical Education and training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering, providing employers with the skilled workforce they need.

A total of £6.4 million is being invested to support IoTs to offer the free courses, which will support up to 4,000 working adults to get on the path to a new, rewarding career and will plug local skills shortages.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Michelle Donelan said:

“Making sure more people can train and develop at any stage of their life to secure high skilled, high paid jobs is at the heart of our plans.

“These fantastic new courses will open up more training alternatives for adults, address skills gaps in our economy and level up opportunities across the country.

“We are also investing up to £18 million to support over 100 further and higher education providers to expand the higher technical training on offer to their local communities.”

Principal and CEO of New College Swindon Carole Kitching said:

"As lead partner of the ground-breaking Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology (IoT), New College Swindon is delighted to be able to offer these flexible, free courses to employers. We are seeing high demand for these short programmes in Digital Skills which have been developed in partnership with employers to meet workforce skills gaps and delivered at times to suit our clients. I would encourage interested businesses to contact us as soon as possible for more information as fully funded places are filling up fast. Options include Data Analysis, Cloud Computing, Cyber, Agile Methodologies and DevOps."

For further information on courses being offered by the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology, please email

freeworkskills@newcollege.ac.uk or call 07879 518677. For further information about the IoT, visit www.sawiot.ac.uk.