New route for future engineers


02 December 2020
Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon of NMITE

An innovative new higher education route into engineering aims to tackle the UK’s skills shortage with backing from businesses including refrigeration specialist Arctic Circle.

The New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) in Hereford has launched the search for its first group of 50 students, who will join in March 2021 studying an accelerated master's degree in integrated engineering. 

The degree aims to prepare graduates with high quality, work-ready skills in just three years. Engineers-in-training will experience NMITE’s “learning by doing” with regular real-life projects and no lectures or traditional exams. Unlike other engineering institutions, they will not be required to have a maths or physics A-level as these subjects will be taught within the curriculum.

Successful applicants will have their academic fees and accommodation costs covered in full for their first year thanks to Pioneer Funders and other partners. Around £25 million of match funding has been secured. 

The news comes as the institution received validation by The Open University which enables it to start student recruitment. NMITE wants to attract applications from a variety of backgrounds and at differing life stages, and says it will seek to train and nurture learners ready to tackle global challenges such as sustainable food production, access to safe water, and clean energy, which do not fall neatly into traditional mechanical, electrical or materials engineering categories.  

Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, President and Chief Executive of NMITE, said: “We are delighted to announce that NMITE is now open and ready to recruit its Pioneer Cohort of learners. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in getting us to today including those who had the inspirational vision and tenacity to push forwards, all my colleagues, funders and industry partners who have shared this vision and supported us.  What 2020 has shown more than ever is that we need more work-ready engineers, and we are delighted that NMITE will be playing a role in educating engineers equipped to tackle global challenges.”

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Debbie Gittoes of Arctic Circle

Among NMITE’s founding partners is Arctic Circle, also based in Hereford, which designs and manufactures equipment for the heat transfer market for use in food retail, processing and manufacture. 

Director Debbie Gittoes said: “Right from the outset, I’ve been impressed by NMITE’s teaching model of concentrating on life skill development as well as hard engineering skills. As a business our strength lies in the skills of our people and we have tried to develop what many term ‘soft skills’ and which I term ‘essential life skills’. Thinking skills, emotional intelligence, communications skills all necessary no matter what career path you follow.  

“We believe that NMITE has the potential to transform the way engineering is taught through their commitment to partnerships and working with the local business community.”

Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, MP, said: “This Government is committed to providing graduates with opportunities to develop their skillsets and embark on successful careers, and I congratulate NMITE in launching an innovative model of high-level engineering education. This programme will not only provide valuable experience for graduates, but will help to boost growth in engineering, drive innovation and build the vital skills this country needs.”