Truro and Penwith College’s partnership in the South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT) will see a new £7 million technology facility built, it can be revealed.

The SWIOT was granted Government approval in April as part of a national network of technology-focused teaching hubs.

The institute is a collaboration between a number of organisations, including the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, Bridgwater & Taunton College, City College Plymouth, Exeter College, Petroc and Truro & Penwith College.

Each of these is investing in the development of state-of-the-art facilities for training in technical subjects to create Britain’s next generation of highly skilled technicians and engineers.

David Walrond, principal at Truro and Penwith College, said: “This final approval of the Institute of Technology by the Department for Education is excellent news for Cornwall. It will help fund a state-of-the-art new facility on our Truro campus to provide a range of local progression opportunities into higher education and apprenticeship provision. The design, in partnership with the growing group of engineering and digital businesses in Cornwall, will help meet the local higher skills needs for these important industries, offering well paid careers and making a valuable contribution to local economic growth.”

The south west partners have this week signed a partnership agreement signalling the multi-million pound investment in the region.

The SWIOT will train thousands of students in technical subjects across the region, bringing unparalleled skills development and career opportunities. The government has plans for twelve new IOTs to equip the British workforce with required skills across key sectors.

Building work on a new £7 million building is due to start at Truro College next spring. The facilities will match the best available in the UK and help put the South West region at the forefront of digital and engineering education.

Specifically, the Truro College build will consist of electronic and digital laboratories, engineering workshops, specialist welding facilities, a variety of industry standard, computer controlled (CNC) machinery and shared learning spaces.

Qualifications available to local learners will include higher-level Certificates, Diplomas and brand-new Higher Level Apprenticeships, all drawing on expertise from a group of "anchor employers" and key regional and Cornwall-based businesses with investment from the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) for the Heart of the South West and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Mark Duddridge, chairman of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a tremendous achievement for our region. It will move technical skills provision to a new level by forging even closer relationships between education and business, giving our companies the skills they need to compete and grow in a global market, and making our region more attractive to inward investors.”