The South West Institute of Technology (SWIOT) Digital and Data Centre at Exeter College has been signed off as part of a wider plan to revolutionise digital, engineering and manufacturing technology education across the region. The new £11million building will be at the heart of the college and located on its Hele Road site in what is great news for the college, city and region.  

The SWIOT has now officially been granted approval by the Department for Education, meaning government funding has been formally allocated to support projects across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset with the aim of providing world-class technical education for the next generation of students. 

Funding from the SWIOT will help support the development of a new multi-million-pound Digital and Data Centre on Exeter College’s Hele Road site. The new state-of-the-art facility, which is match-funded by the college, will provide learners with opportunities in the digital sector, including courses around data analytics, cyber security and software development. 

Planned work with the SWIOT will now be carried out across the South West, with the University of Exeter also set to develop their computer science building, complete with a computer lab and artificial intelligence arena.  

The government has supported a small number of Institutes of Technology across the country, following a rigorous selection process. The aim is to reinvigorate the technical education landscape, especially at Levels 4 and 5, to meet the changing and complex needs of businesses. As part of the development process, Institutes of Technology have engaged with employers to identify current and emerging skills challenges.  

The core aim of the SWIOT is to provide the education opportunities to proactively plug those skills gaps in industry.

The key ‘anchor employers’ who are working with the SWIOT on curriculum objectives are:

  • Oxygen House,
  • Babcock,
  • the Met Office and
  • TDK Lambda,

Oxygen House and the Met Office are also playing a key role in the development of the Digital and Data Centre located at Exeter College.  

Exeter College’s new facility will provide a nationally significant and prestigious digital learning centre in the heart of the city of Exeter. The new building, which will be at the front of the Hele Road site, will have digital learning laboratories, IT workspaces, seminar spaces and lecture and presentation facilities. Learners will have access to cutting edge equipment to help gear them up to transition successfully in to the digital or data sector.  

John Laramy 100x100Exeter College Principal and Chief Executive John Laramy said,

“We are delighted to be at the heart of a new technical skills revolution. The SWIOT has been supported by employers and our key aim is to ensure that the employers in the locality are able to access the right training to support their staff and business. 

“The SWIOT is a true example of a partnership where education and industry have been able to work together to create something special.  

“This project aligns perfectly with our work as an early adopter developing T Levels. The new SWIOT building here will bring a benefit to all students, creating a new home for higher level and technical adult learners. In addition, this project will enable us to enhance our existing estate to meet the needs of Apprentices and sixth form learners.  

“This building also marks the start of our estates master plan to transform our campus so that we can continue to support the ambition of our students, employers and region.” 

The SWIOT consists of a partnership of a number of education providers, including:

  • the University of Exeter
  • University of Plymouth
  • Bridgwater & Taunton College
  • City College Plymouth
  • Exeter College
  • Petroc, and
  • Truro & Penwith College

All partner institutions are also announcing their own plans which have been developed with the SWIOT.  

In addition to the ‘anchor employers’, this bid is also supported by both Heart of the South West and the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). 

Oxygen House is one of the ‘anchor employers’ backing the work of the SWIOT.

Director of Oxygen House Glenn Woodcock said,

“We’re delighted to be working with the SWIOT on this project and can’t wait to see these plans for the region develop over the coming years.   

“The partnerships formed as part of the SWIOT will enable businesses to work proactively with education providers to lead curriculum development and meet the skills challenges of the future in a positive way.   

“The Digital and Data Centre at Exeter College will play an important part in establishing the South West as a national centre for digital and engineering education and development.” 

The development of the Digital and Data Centre is the first phase in Exeter College’s wider campus masterplan, which will see the Hele Road site transformed in the coming years. The ambitious overarching plan details five key phases of redevelopment that will improve pedestrian access between the city centre college sites as well as provide new buildings complete with updated teaching and learning spaces.  

The Exeter College masterplan was recently granted unanimous approval by Exeter City Council and the long-term strategy will see the Hele Road site regenerated with new teaching spaces, rejuvenated social areas and an open plan site map. 

Work is expected to begin on the new Digital and Data Centre in late 2019.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Solvendis added a new event 40 minutes ago

Effective Self Assessment & Improvement Planning (Zoom...

The self-assessment process is, further, the key way in which providers can measure the effectiveness of their provision against the EIF. Under the...

  • Thursday, 10 June 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event 47 minutes ago

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training (Zoom Conferencing)

A provider’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) plays a critical role in its approach to safeguarding its learners, training its staff, providing...

  • Monday, 19 April 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page