From education to employment

NMITE confirms its new degree awarding powers

students sat on steps with books and laptops

Another milestone in it’s university journey

Today (Monday 24th July), NMITE, New Model Institute for Technology & Engineering, confirms that it has received its New Degree Awarding Powers from the Office for Students, having successfully completed the assessment process describing this as “perfect timing” with its first (Pioneer) cohort graduating next year (2024).

James Newby, President and CEO, NMITE first praises his academic team for their work and enormous contribution to what he describes as a hugely significant step change in NMITE’s accelerated journey of innovation and says:

“The important element for us, and our students, is that we have proved ourselves in terms of academic quality and are delighted that our practices have been considered academically robust.  We see this as an endorsement of our new model and our academic pedagogy. Students choose us because of our size and innovative approach, not despite it.”

NMITE took the decision to start with The Open University (OU) as its validating partner (announced 1 December 2020), a decision which James Newby claims has added value to NMITE’s progress, allowing it to focus on developing and delivering its new model of engineering education and describing OU as the perfect partner and one with which they may want to collaborate with further in the future.  “This collaborative approach has worked well for us, giving us access to advice from an experienced provider with their own extremely high standards but one which is also amenable to new models.  We are very proud to have worked with The Open University, who have been both innovative and adaptable, another example of a great Higher Education innovator,” comments Newby.

Viren Patel, Director of Employers & Partnerships, The Open University, added:

“The Open University is delighted that NMITE has achieved this significant milestone. The Open University’s core mission is to embrace inclusivity by being open to individuals, locations, approaches, and concepts and this is further amplified through validated collaborations with other education providers. The Open University is dedicated to extending educational opportunities to communities that might not have otherwise had the chance to experience such an innovative and transformative learning approach and our partnership with NMITEexemplifiesthis.”

NMITE’s James Newby regularly speaks about the need for new providers in education, the need for government to adopt the same positive and nurturing attitude to new education providers as it does for new business start-ups and the “no innovation without risk” agenda. He explains NMITE’s new model of engineering education is vital as the current Higher Education system does not attract enough diverse engineering students (more female engineers, more from less well-off backgrounds and more from different disciplinary backgrounds).

Newby also highlights NMITE’s civic role, pointing out that Herefordshire was, before NMITE, one of only a handful of counties in the UK with no university. So, albeit currently on a small scale with developing credentials, NMITE acts as a civic institution, playing a leading role in its local area by supporting community projects, focusing on providing opportunities for local young people and working with businesses to provide the training needed to meet the skills shortages faced by employers.  This contribution is described by Newby as, “key to and significant in fulfilling a role towards Levelling Up.”

To articulate how NMITE embraces its remit as a new provider, Newby comments:

“New providers should provide new models – students definitely need this – as the basic delivery model for undergraduate degrees has barely changed in years.  New providers can work agilely and nimbly: we can change things quickly, make decisions and try things which are not constrained by a legacy of systems and processes.”

NMITE explains how it finds solutions to challenges by working with other organisations in new ways, not constrained by geography, for example its partnership with Edinburgh Napier University which is producing more curriculum innovation, and the establishment of a cross border, two site, centre of excellence in the Sustainable Built Environment.   Its recently announced partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre will also lead to a new regional hub for the development of automated manufacturing techniques with an emphasis on application in smaller businesses.

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