New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE), which is planning to pioneer a new ‘Learning without Lectures’ technique, has completed the refurbishment of its first building on its (Blackfriars) central site in Hereford which has been renovated and fitted out as learning space.
Last month the institute was awarded an additional £1.6 million of funding by the Marches LEP as part of a multi-million-pound investment across the region by the Government’s Getting Building Fund (GBF).
The new building layout reflects NMITE’s vision of its future technology and engineering teaching which will be centred around the principle of ‘Learning without Lectures’ using a series of project-based ‘sprints’ in their place. The space has been configured around learners gaining knowledge from hands-on projects and working as a team rather than through conventional lectures.
NMITE took on the site in August 2019 and has had contractors on site since (with a pause during the Covid-19 lockdown). The building, which began its life as 58 modules comprising the Olympic Delivery Authority’s offices in the Olympic Park now has capacity for 175 future learners as well as academic and support staff and, over its three floors, includes seven teaching studios, a factory (manufacturing space with a range of equipment for metal working and wood working) and library space. Accessed through an entrance foyer with offices and facilities for student services, the building also includes four quiet study spaces, breakout spaces and offices. Building works and fit out were undertaken by local companies E C Joseph and Bolts of Hereford respectively with the mechanical and electrical works by CF Roberts.
Development of the site has been led by NMITE Professor, Dave Allan and Learning Resources Lead Technician, Dave Coleman. Funding for the development was provided by Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal with part of the grant used for the identification, sourcing, procurement, installation and commissioning of in excess of 22,000 devices, machines and specialist equipment. Examples of the latter include a Tensile Test Machine, manufactured by Thümler, used to test and understand the properties of engineering materials and Keyence’s Automated Measurement Machine as its non-contact measurement solution is particularly useful when developing soft or flexible products. Attention now turns to the second building on the Blackfriars site which will increase capacity to 250 future learners.
Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, President and Chief Executive of NMITE, said: “We are so excited to be able to see our plans come so successfully to life. It’s a physical demonstration of our future vision and I think will be motivating for my team and local community alike. We look forward to the day when we can “open our doors” and start delivering our objective of developing work ready engineers.”
Herefordshire Council own the freehold of the Blackfriars Street premises and has granted a long lease to the Department for Education. The Department for Education has subsequently granted a 50 year sub-lease to NMITE.