, the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering, has confirmed that it has received ’degree awarding powers’ from the Office for Students, having successfully completed the assessment process describing it as “perfect timing” with its first cohort of students graduating in 2024.
James Newby, NMITE president and CEO, said: “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 in 2020 to start with the Open University
(OU) as its validating partner, a decision which Mr Newby claimed has added value to the organisation‘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 the NMITE may collaborate with further in the future.
He continued: “This collaborative approach has worked well for us, giving us access to advice from an experienced provider with its own extremely high standards, and one which is also amenable to new models. We are very proud to have worked with the OU, which has been both innovative and adaptable, another example of a great higher education innovator.”
Viren Patel, the Open University’s director of employers and partnerships, said: “We are 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. We are 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 NMITE exemplifies this.”Diversity
Mr Newby explained that 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).
Mr Newby also highlighted NMITE’s civic role, pointing out that Herefordshire was, before NMITE, one of only a handful of counties in the UK without a 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, focussing on providing opportunities for local young people and working with businesses to provide the training needed to meet the skills shortages faced by employers.”
To articulate how NMITE embraces its remit as a new provider, Mr Newby concluded: “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 says it finds solutions to challenges by working with other organisations in new ways, not constrained by geography, for example its partnership with www.napier.ac.uk
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. A recently announced partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry will also lead to a new regional hub for the development of automated manufacturing techniques with an emphasis on application in smaller businesses.