Work commences on new South Central Institute of Technology hub in Oxford
Work officially started this week on the £3.2 million development of the new South Central Institute of Technology (SCIoT) hub in Oxford.
The new SCIoT hub will be based within Activate Learning’s existing Technology Campus in the heart of Blackbird Leys, and is scheduled to open to students in September 2022.
Once open, learners and apprentices will be able to access training in technical and digital specialisms that will be tailored around the needs of the local economy and backed by some of the biggest names in the sector, including Microsoft, KPMG and McAfee.
The hub will form part of the wider SCIoT that has its main campus based at Bletchley, led by Milton Keynes College, and a second hub based within Activate Learning’s Reading College.
Alex Warner, Principal of the SCIoT, said he was delighted that the next phase of the SCIoT was now underway and was excited for the opportunities it would provide to those within the local community.
He said: “We have a real social agenda to the work that we are doing at the SCIoT and I think this makes Blackbird Leys the perfect home for us.
“Technology is the great leveller, it can give individuals the power of large organisations, it’s the thing that drives our modern day-to-day lives and gives us access to things at the click of a button.
“But as a sector it needs more diversity and to be more reflective of the communities we serve.
“This is why I’m really excited for us to be opening up opportunities for the people of Oxford, but particularly the amazingly diverse community of Blackbird Leys.
“I hope the SCIoT will become the obvious destination for anyone wanting to train and develop their digital skills, regardless of who they are, what they look like, or what stage of life they are at.”
Once open, people will be able to access HNC Digital Technologies programmes in a variety of subject areas, including data, software, games and animation, cyber security and cloud networking.
The unique difference the SCIoT has over other forms of digital and technical qualifications is the hands-on experience learners will get, through a curriculum co-designed and co-delivered with industry partners.
Nancy Buckley, Director of Career Pathways for Technology at Activate Learning, said: “We have worked tirelessly over the past few years since the SCIoT was given the green light by the Government, to ensure we have an amazing range of industry partners and that what we teach is what employers are looking for.
“The real-world experiences our learners will receive at the new SCIoT will set them up for life in the fast-moving digital roles of the future, where employers will need people to demonstrate applied knowledge, not just qualifications.
“There will be some exciting opportunities for our local communities to access through our amazing range of courses and we will be working hard to break down the barriers that may have historically stood in the way for people.”
The new SCIoT facilities will involve the redevelopment of an existing three-storey block on the Technology Campus site, retrofitting it with the latest in digital technologies to allow students and apprentices to work and collaborate across the entire SCIoT.
Speaking about the redevelopment, Phil Waddup, Director of Property and Facilities at Activate Learning, said the work would be undertaken and delivered in a respectful way by the construction team.
He added: “The overall design of the building and what we are planning to do will make the site so much more attractive for our neighbours and have a real impact on the aesthetics of the site.
“It will also provide a state-of-the-art learning facility within one of Oxford’s largest communities.”