Newport prepares levelling-up bid for National Technology Institute
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Newport City Council is set to submit a bid to the UK Government for the second round of Levelling Up funding, in a bid to move on from its industrial history.
Up to £20 million worth of funding is available for regeneration and capital projects. If the council’s bid is successful, the money will go towards the introduction of a City of Newport National Technology Institute (NTI), that is likely to focus on data and cyber.
Council leader Jane Mudd said: “This bid has been developed as a result of ongoing feedback from employers.
“Our employers and businesses are telling us that they desperately need a pipeline of suitably qualified and trained people in the local area to meet their current needs and to enable businesses to grow.”
Cabinet member for community wellbeing, Cllr Debbie Harvey, said: “We are moving forward, and this is the future. Gone are the days of when your dad goes to the steelworks or down the mines.”
The facility will be delivered in collaboration with Cardiff Capital Region, further and higher education, businesses and industry experts, and employers.
At a cabinet meeting, held on June 15, Cllr Laura Lacey, said: “It’s exciting to see this type of industry coming to the city.”
Cllr Lacey added: “A lot of our neurodivergent children in education don’t conform to standard education but are very adaptable when it comes to data [and] when it comes to technology.”
Deputy leader Deb Davies who has responsibility for education, echoed Cllr Lacey’s comments and added: “The potential opportunities for our children and students is absolutely phenomenal.”
The institute will aim to increase the number of learners with higher technical qualifications. It hopes to attract a diverse range of learners, including adult learners who are in employment and are seeking access to higher-level education.
Another cabinet member to champion the bid was Cllr Jason Hughes, who said: “As someone who had to leave the community they grew up in to find work, I think what’s happening in Newport is potentially quite special.
“In the sense that those in Newport now will not only be able to gain the skills and qualifications required, but also be able to find secure work, because these are the skills and qualifications needed by local employers.”
Cllr Mudd, who represents Malpas, said the council was “bitterly disappointed” to miss out on the first round of Levelling Up funding due to an unsuccessful bid.
Newport bid for £20 million from the first round of funds for the Northern Gateway Quarter of the City, focusing on the train station area, adjacent streets and public realm.
The report presented to the cabinet states that the unsuccessful bid has highlighted how an adjustment in approach could lead to a successful funding award this time round.
Applications for the bid opened on May 30 and the deadline for submission is July 6.
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