The consortium led by Milton Keynes College behind plans for a new Institute of Technology (IoT) at Bletchley Park has appointed its first principal.
Alex Warner is currently Director of the Technology Faculty for one of the group partners, Activate Learning which operates Further Education (FE) colleges across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey.
He says, “I was involved in the early bidding process, developing a vision for an IoT at the Park and I could not be more thrilled and excited. It’s a huge honour and responsibility being the first principal. It’s a dream job because we’re starting with a blank page and the possibilities are endless. From the very moment I was offered the job I just knew I had to grab it with both hands.”
Milton Keynes College leads an impressive group of partners including many local businesses alongside global giants like Microsoft and KPMG. The South Central IoT, as it will be known, aims to help close the existing skills gap in technology and the input of all those companies into the curriculum will ensure that it teaches the skills and creative ways of thinking which are most needed. Central to the project is that it will be truly accessible and inclusive, creating opportunities for as diverse a group of students and apprentice as can be inspired to learn there.
Dr Julie Mills OBE, CEO & Group Principal at the College says, “Alex will be a wonderful asset to the IoT. He is knowledgeable, skilled and boundlessly enthusiastic and he really has grasped straight away what we want to achieve here. Alex will lead the development of a values-led institution which will inspire the next generation of digital visionaries.”
Alex’s drive to see students achieve their aspirations is underpinned by award-winning curriculum design, employer engagement, and innovative use of learning technologies, all of which are going to be incredibly important to the IoT. It is perfectly placed within the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge corridor which the government is determined will be a hotbed of digital expansion and development.
He says, “I am fascinated by the history of Bletchley Park and the diversity of people who made it such an important place. The codebreakers came from all walks of life and so shall our students. They will be the lateral thinkers, the disruptors and risk takers but, like those who went before them, they will also be collaborators and co-operators. They will learn to harness their collective tech expertise for good. They won’t all be tech specialists when they arrive; some will be virtual beginners. Our job is to help them develop the skills and talents they maybe don’t even realise themselves that they have and ready them for careers in digital technology and associated fields.”
Alex says the IoT won’t just be about qualifications. “In my vision,” he says, “students will develop knowledge, skills and behaviours by working on employer-sponsored “real-world” projects. “We are only just starting this technological revolution and the demand for skilled people who understand this new world is enormous. Business is crying out for well-rounded people with genuine expertise who can apply their skills to actual workplace needs and those are the people the IoT will be educating. We have a chance to seriously upgrade the workforce, not just locally but across the country and beyond; technology knows no boundaries and it couldn’t be more exciting.”