Earlier last month, the team here at NMITE held a livestream with many of our financial supporters, that shared our plans for the campus being built at Skylon Park in Rotherwas, Hereford. For those who could not attend this, or if you have a keen interest in the development of the site, then read on as we reveal our intended plans and what’s to be expected for the future NMITE campus.

In basic terms, when complete, this campus will house the Centre for Advanced Timber Technology, the Centre for Automated Manufacture, plus the Centre for Future Skills (CATT, CAM and CFS respectively).

So far, we’ve hosted a series of round-table events to nail down what industries really need out of these educational facilities. The discussions have involved trade bodies, end users and suppliers to the industry - locally, nationally and internationally.  Using this important information, we can create a plan for the Centres to ensure that they address the problems currently faced by the Timber and Manufacturing industries.

Facilitated by our very own Laura Perratt (Fundraising Associate) and hosted by Toby Kinnaird (Head of Partnerships) along with Harriet Dearden (Head of Fundraising), these events originally welcomed questions from attendees. From this, we have come up with a simple Q&A to answer some of the key queries our stakeholders, and the community, may have on this exciting initiative.

  1. What originally sparked the idea for this project? Why did you decide to build the campus at Skylon Park?

The idea came from speaking to our partner companies, realising that locally there isn’t any provisions for training apprentices in the timber industry to degree level and nowhere to upskill employees and test evolving technologies. We quickly realised that the issue with timber engineering isn’t just locally, but nationally there is a distinct lack of training facilities offering a timber engineering degree apprenticeship. We have chosen Skylon Park in order to spread our campus across Hereford, whilst being in close proximity with many of our partners in Rotherwas.

  1. How are the centres going to be funded?

We have secured £5.6 million in funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) The rest of the funding is from philanthropic support and gifts in-kind from corporate partners.

  1. What are the timescales for the project?

We plan on getting the CATT build complete and operational by the beginning of April 2021, with each subsequent building being completed by the same time over the coming years until fully complete by April 2023.

  1. How do the centres fit into NMITE’s core offerings?

The centre will help support the engineering education aims of NMITE whilst also being open to anyone looking to upskill their workforce. Also, the subjects will align with NMITE’s core technology and engineering offering, like the development of a level 6 timber engineering degree apprenticeship. 

  1. What is NMITE’s relationship with the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association in terms of delivering Apprenticeships?

We have been talking to HWGTA, in order to make sure that we aren’t working in competition with them. They offer a great apprenticeship service which means that we can focus on the higher-level apprenticeship which is out of their remit.

  1. How was the campus designed?

We ran a design competition back in November/December 2019, with both local and national companies entering, despite having a very narrow time frame of just two weeks. Ultimately, the winner was a local company, Oakwrights. Their vison for the Centre very closely aligned with ours. They agreed that the CATT should celebrate timber as a construction material through its design, as well as being an advanced education facility. The design is also sensitive to the Rotherwas’ rich history, reflecting the Rotherwas Ribbon.

To support any one of the intended centres, or to simply find out more, contact fundraising@nmite.ac.uk