£13m new Institute of Technology compared to "Tony Stark's Laboratory"

(L-R) Matt Johnson, Jason Bradbury, Andrew Kaye

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: February 29, 2024 | Updated: 29th February 2024

South Hampshire College Group has officially launched its new multi-million pound Institute of Technology, with TV technology guru Jason Bradbury comparing it to Tony Stark’s laboratory.

The South Coast Institute of Technology is a collaboration between South Hampshire College Group, Solent University, University of Portsmouth, HSDC, Brockenhurst College, and The Isle of Wight College, backed by more than £13 million funding from the Department of Education.

The launch was hosted at South Hampshire College Group’s Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Designed to address the skills gap within the maritime, engineering and digital sectors, the South Coast IoT will work with employers to increase the number of students pursuing technical education in STEM industries. With 50 unique career pathways currently available, the South Coast IoT aims to improve the talent pipeline into industries that are vital to the future growth and prosperity of the region.

Andrew Kaye, CEO of South Hampshire College Group, the lead Further Education College in the partnership, said: “The Solent region has a proven track record of delivering excellent further and higher education and has done so through proactive employer engagement.

“The South Coast Institute of Technology will provide further opportunities for the region’s current and future students, staff, partner organisations and the wider community, developing the higher technical skills needed to support local and regional growth and long-term prosperity across the South.”

The VIP event was attended by more than 100 distinguished guests, who were greeted with speeches by Andrew Kaye and Matt Johnson, Director of the South Coast IoT. Following this, Jason Bradbury, known for his role in ‘The Gadget Show,’ took the stage and delivered an inspirational talk on changing landscape of technology and the importance of its role in our society.

The ceremonial cutting of the ribbon was performed by Andrew, Matt and Jason, and afterwards guests were taken on an eagerly anticipated tour around the new building. Boasting state of the art facilities and equipment, the IoT at CEMAST is the only IoT offering a specific Higher National Certificate in Robotics and Mechatronics, and invests in high-quality training, industry-expert teachers and real-world curriculum.

After taking a tour of the facilities himself, Jason said: “The South Coast Institute of Technology is incredible. If your goal is to galvanise young people’s interests and really inspire them to learn, it doesn’t get much better than this.”

Key employers include the Royal Navy and Portsmouth International Port, IBM, QinetiQ, Leonardo, Maritime UK Solent, GKN, DDC, and Teemill.

Rear Admiral Jude Terry, Director of People and Training, Royal Navy said: “The Royal Navy is delighted to be a core employer partner of the South Coast IoT, as its impact will be significant.

“Integral to the bidding process, through our Solent Maritime Enterprise Zone team, we see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the higher technical skills shortage not only in the region but nationally and is essential in supporting a much-needed growth in productivity particularly in the maritime, engineering and digital industries.”

Matt Johnson, Director of South Coast IoT, said: “The South Coast is on the edge of a new era, heralding a fourth industrial revolution driven by the Solent 2050 Strategy, Solent Maritime Enterprise Zones, and the Solent Freeport initiative.

“With huge technological advancements on the horizon, our area’s industries in maritime, engineering, and digital are some of the fastest growing and we have tens of thousands of local vacancies waiting to be filled.

“To address this growing demand, the South Coast Institute of Technology is here to help by getting more students into STEM subjects. We’re working with businesses to make sure our students are ready for these great jobs, helping our region grow and thrive.”

For more information on the South Coast Institute of Technology, please visit:

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