New Institute will boost Swindon’s economy IoT is secured for Swindon

By Ian Larrard (pictured), Director of Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative, Business West

Despite tough national competition, Swindon has been chosen as one of twelve locations across England to receive an Institute of Technology (IoT). Intended to provide high-quality skills training and offer young people a vocational alternative to university, the announcement is a much-needed boost for local residents and a clear vote of

confidence in the economic resilience of our town. When the project was

announced in 2016, government received approximately 100 expressions of interest from further education providers across the country. Given the scale of competition, I am delighted that government has chosen to invest here in Swindon. Steve Wain and the IoT bid team,

which Business West was a part of, did an excellent job convincing government that it will see a return on investment by highlighting the huge growth potential of

Swindon’s high-technology, advanced engineering and life sciences sectors. The strength of Swindon’s

anchor employers - key local businesses committed to working with education providers to support curriculum development and provide work placements for students – were no doubt instrumental in the government’s decision to locate here. Business West played a vital role

in engaging anchor employers and galvanising the business community to get behind this bid, with our members Nationwide,

Catalent Pharma Solutions and Excalibur Communications all signing up to back the IoT. Given the lack of a higher

education offering in Swindon, the IoT is a much needed addition to the present offering which will help businesses in Swindon and the local area continue to grow and prosper. Furthermore, it will boost the

confidence of our young people by improving awareness of STEM career pathways in Swindon and creating parity of aspiration between academic and technical education.

Mutual society lifts curtain on theatrical partnership

National Friendly, the Bristol-based mutual society, has unveiled its partnership with The Bristol Hippodrome. This partnership looks to enrich National Friendly’s community

initiatives, including their work with Cabot Primary School through Ablaze’s Reading Buddy Programme, and will further support fundraising for their charity of the year, Southmead Hospital Charity’s NICU fund. As part of the partnership, National Friendly will also be supporting The

Bristol Hippodrome’s Matinee Club. CEO at National Friendly, Jonathan Long (pictured), commented, “We at

National Friendly are delighted to be partnering with one of Bristol’s best- loved theatres. The theatre will be key in helping us achieve our Corporate Social Responsibility goals for the year, and we are eager to see what the rest of 2019 has in store for the partnership.”

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MAY/JUNE 2019 insight 9

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