First New Higher Education Institution in the UK in Over 40 Years Opens Cutting-Edge Campus in Hereford

The UK recently witnessed the establishment of its first higher education institution in over four decades, with the inauguration of a cutting-edge campus in Hereford. This new development, Skylon Campus, is part of the expanding endeavors of NMITE (New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering) and is situated within the Hereford Enterprise Zone at Skylon Park. The campus features two 700 sq meter workshops, the Centre for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) and the Centre for Automated Manufacturing (CAM). NMITE aspires for these centers to emerge as national leaders in manufacturing and timber education and is currently offering an array of sustainable built environment courses.

Among the courses provided is the UK’s premiere Bachelor of Science Sustainable Built Environment degree, accompanied by additional courses on innovative and eco-friendly design and construction techniques. The emphasis on low-carbon construction as an essential skill reflects a growing shift within the construction industry, driven by the ongoing global climate crisis.

James Newby, NMITE’s President and CEO, praised the Skylon Park facility for its exceptional sustainable learning environment, and expressed pride in the collaborations with Speller Metcalfe and Bond Bryan. NMITE, supported by the government and industry, strives to revolutionize higher education. A key differentiating aspect is their close collaboration with the industry in the development of all their courses, thus ensuring that graduates are equipped with relevant skills for the workplace.

The Skylon Campus, designed by Bond Bryan architects and constructed by Speller Metcalfe, spans 2500 sq meters and is divided into two distinct halves: a steel frame workshop block and a timber frame studio block. The campus serves as a “Living Lab,” showcasing various timber and steel construction techniques to offer a practical learning environment where students can gain hands-on experience with contemporary engineering equipment and methods, ensuring they are prepared for the workforce.

The facility includes five studios and additional break-out spaces, providing flexibility for future course development. Aditi Saxena, project architect and sustainability lead at Bond Bryan, explained that different construction materials and methodologies were incorporated in the design to enhance students’ learning experiences.

Speller Metcalfe, a building contractor recognized for their dedication to innovative and sustainable construction projects, successfully completed the project within the given timeframe and budget despite COVID-related challenges. The project has now been nominated for several awards, including Construction News Project of the Year (under £20m), West Midlands Constructing Excellence Building Project of the Year, and Value awards.

NMITE is also adopting a groundbreaking approach to student recruitment, aiming for an equal gender balance and targeting non-traditional student demographics, such as military veterans and higher-level apprentices. The institution plans to support up to 25% of its enrollees with bursaries and scholarships.

NMITE is currently accepting applications for its inaugural class in September 2023, which includes a Foundation Year. More details can be found at nmite.ac.uk.

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