South Central Institute of Technology opens new hub to train the next generation of digital and technical specialists at Reading College

1 October, 2021

Activate Learning is delighted to announce the official opening of the new South Central Institute of Technology (SCIoT) hub within its Reading College site today.

The Mayor of Reading, David Stevens opens the Reading hub of the South Central Institute of Technology with Activate Learning’s Chief Executive Sally DickettsThe new hub will form part of the wider SCIoT that was established following a successful bid led by Milton Keynes College with prestigious partners including Microsoft, KPMG, McAfee, CCL Evidence Talks, and Cranfield University, to build an Institute of Technology at Bletchley with two additional hubs at Activate Learning’s Technology Campus in Oxford and Reading College.

The Reading SCIoT hub was officially opened on 30 September by Activate Learning’s Chief Executive, Sally Dicketts CBE, and the Lord Mayor of Reading, David Stevens, in front of specially-invited guests and partners.

The new hub will specialise in delivering technical and digital education, focusing on the specific skills required in the local area, with the aim of providing employers with a technically skilled workforce and students with a clear route to technical employment. By bridging skills gaps, these new institutes will drive growth and widen opportunity.

Students studying at the Reading SCIoT hub will have access to the new £1million facilities that have been specifically designed to allow students to collaborate and engage with teaching and learning across the entire SCIoT.

The hub is already being utilised by Level 3 Information Communication Technician and Level 4 Software Developer and Data Analyst apprentices, with plans to extend the offering with Level 4 digital apprenticeships in Cyber Security and Digital Project Management over the next three years. Students can also do Higher Nationals in Digital Technologies as an alternative to going to university.

Alex Warner, Principal of the South Central Institute of Technology, said the opening of the new hub in Reading marked a special moment in the journey of the SCIoT.

“It feels great to be opening the doors to the new hub at Reading, the first fully developed and built component of the SCIoT, which already has its first intake of learners,” he added.

“The digital and tech sectors are so important to the UK’s future growth and these state-of-the-art, industry-standard facilities will help to develop and nurture the talent that will drive the sector forwards.

“I think that anyone who is looking at their future and thinking about a career in the digital and tech sectors will be genuinely excited by the amazing opportunities the South Central Institute of Technology will open for them. Our access to industry-leading experts, who have not only helped us design our programmes but also deliver the learning experience, is truly game changing.”

The delivery of the new SCIoT in Reading will be overseen by consortium partner Activate Learning.

Nancy Buckley, Activate Learning’s Director of Career Pathways for Technology, said that the new offerings available at the SCIoT will provide opportunities for people at different stages of their educational journey.

She added: “We have launched the new SCIoT with Higher National offerings in digital technologies, as well as apprenticeships across Level 3 and 4 for anyone wanting to go into careers as information and communication technicians, data analysts and software developers.

“Over the next year we will be looking to grow this offering to cover more digital specialisms and develop further programmes that will be relevant to the region’s digital sector.

“Being based here in Reading, with some of the biggest digital and tech firms on our doorstep – including some of our key consortium partners – will really add to the experience for our learners and provide them with invaluable experiences they can take with them into their careers.”

An important aspect to the work that is being done by the SCIoT is the ongoing collaboration with industry partners to continually enhance the offering to learners and ensure standards are in line with employers’ expectations.

Holly Perrett, Partnership Engagement Manager at Activate Learning, gives an introductory talk at the Reading hub of the South Central Institute of Technology

Holly Perrett, Partnership Engagement Manager for the SCIoT, has played an important role in building relationships with local and national employers.

She said: “The new SCIoT hub is a really exciting new opportunity for employers of all sizes across the region to engage with our learners and develop talent pipelines for their businesses.

“Working in collaboration with us also allows for businesses to develop the talent they already have within their organisations, so there is so much that we have to offer.”

The development of the new SCIoT hub has seen almost £1million invested into the Reading College campus to create a completely unique space within the college. The project to develop the innovative new space was overseen by architect GSSArchitecture.

Anna McTaggart, Partner and Project Lead at GSSArchitecture said: “We’re delighted to see the results of this significant investment at the Reading College campus already benefitting the first group of learners.

“Thanks to close collaboration with Milton Keynes College and Activate Learning, we have been able to maximise the opportunities presented by the building, delivering a design that reflects the unique identity of the SCIoT, through the creation of welcoming and aspirational learning environments that support the curriculum delivery model.

“The hub will benefit students with opportunities and experience for years to come, thanks to the hard work of the entire project team, including T&B Contractors Ltd., Project Management Solutions, Solution Consulting Engineers Ltd., Gleeds, and Panda Construction & Engineering Services, who helped to ensure the success of this development.”

Discover our South Central Institute of Technology courses or contact us on 0800 612 6008 to find out how you can work with us as an employer partner.