Award-winning Institute of Technology completes in Dudley
The highly anticipated Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology (IoT) in Dudley has reached completion, with doors now open to its first cohort of students.
Built on behalf of Dudley College of Technology, the £21.8 million scheme has been recognised for its pioneering achievements – taking home the Integration & Collaborative Working award at the prestigious West Midlands Constructing Excellence Awards last Friday.
The project was developed as part of the government’s £170 million drive to deliver a range of technology institutes across the UK, with £17.36m of funding secured for the institute through the Department for Education programme and a further £2m from the West Midlands Combined Authority.
The institute has produced a course programme which focuses on non-traditional progression routes up to and including degree level programmes across medical engineering and healthcare, advanced engineering and manufacturing, and modern methods of construction, with more than 2000 learners set to be taught at the institute by 2025.
Georgina Barnard, managing director of the Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology said: “Developing a technically skilled workforce and providing an even wider range of career pathways for the people of Dudley is what this Institute is all about.
“One of the great strengths of the IoT is the degree of collaboration involved. The IoT is bringing together the further and higher education sectors, alongside local employers to shape and design the delivery of courses, in this way we will make sure we provide training that responds to the region’s STEM skills gap.”
At Dudley, this partnership is made up of a range of employer partners which include The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, Thomas Dudley and the Marches Centre for Manufacturing Technology (among others), who alongside the college are working in partnership with In-Comm training and business services and both the University of Worcester and Wolverhampton.
The three-storey, 4,750m2 Institute of Technology on Castle Hill is now sited adjacent to the new Metro stop, the very Light Rail Innovation Centre and the Black Country Living Museum, and provides technical classrooms, IT facilities, break out and communal spaces, catering facilities and a triple height workshop space.
The IoT will also operate from a central Telford base in conjunction with delivery partner In-Comm Training Services.
The scheme is not only one of the first of its kind as an Institute of Technology, but also only the third project delivered under the ‘game changing’ Integrated Project Insurance (IPI) model as part of the government’s trial strategy for delivering new models of construction procurement – with the first, Advance II, also delivered on behalf of the College in 2017.
Louise Lado-Byrnes, director at IPInitiatives and Independent Facilitators commented: “The principles of IPI enable the project team to form an Alliance that consists of the client, designers, constructors and suppliers. These members are brought together before the design is even considered, which ensures that all interests of the team are aligned from the outset.”
At Dudley College of Technology the Alliance is made up of IPInitiatives, Speller Metcalfe, Derry Building Services, GCA Consulting, Cundall, Cullinan Studio and Fulcro, many of whom have successfully worked on Advance II and more recently the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill.
Louise continued: “By working ‘as one’ rather than as individual entities, and supported by a unique project insurance, this third trial of the model has proven overwhelmingly to reduce project risk, increase profit, create a ‘no blame, no claim’ culture and freedom for decisions to be made on a best for project basis, rather than best for the individuals involved.”
An example of the flexibility employed on the scheme was the highly sustainable, low carbon approach that focused on achieving the ‘best of’ sustainable design, by incorporating elements from a range of accreditations such as BREEAM and Passivhaus, which were specifically designed to suit the project rather than the project attempting to fit each standard. The scheme has also targeted a 20% reduction in carbon emissions in comparison to its IPI predecessor, Advance II. The success of this approach saw the project shortlisted as a finalist in the Sustainability category at the West Midlands Constructing Excellence awards.
An official opening event is set to take place later this year.