Unfolding plans 88 – the Northern Institute for Technology

I want to be eighteen again and be packing my bags to go off to the Northern Institute for Technology.  If I had my time again I would like to go back to college and study computer science or data sciences because there are so many exciting jobs to be had and so many interesting things to do.  I’d get to play with satellite imagery, all that motion data or the three dimension printers and those things that haven’t yet been invented.  This is where all the action is going to be in the future.  I wouldn’t have that far to travel but oh to be young again.

The ambitious plans to open a closer to home alternative to the internationally –renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were announced at the Dynamo 15 conference held at Sunderland University last week.

I have the pleasure of being an advisory board member at Dynamo.  We are the organisation focussed on growing the tech industry in the North East.  These are exciting times and we are certainly not without ambition.

All the talk in government these days is around the much vaunted Northern Powerhouse, an initiative to coalesce the population of the North of England in a way that could rival the economic success of London and the South-East.  Our very own Stockton South MP James Wharton has been appointed as the minister responsible.  Together the northern cities have a population of around fifteen million yet there is a lot of grass and moorland in-between.

But the world is a big place.  This is not a competition between Newcastle and Manchester, or Sunderland and Liverpool.  It is not a competition either between the north of England and the South.  The North East needs to find its own place in the Northern Powerhouse and it needs to find its way in the global economy.  It needs to compete with the Shanghaies, Singapores and other Silicon Valleys around the globe.  And it is information technology that is going to make the difference to the region.

The North East is well placed to take the lead in the United Kingdom in technology and innovation. We are currently the fastest region for start-up growth and the only region that is a net exporter of product.  The Northern Institute for Technology will give us an added education-led emphasis to grow faster and go further.  It is estimated that the Institute could create up to nine hundred new jobs along with dozens of spin-out firms and thousands of supply-chain workers.

Of course there is a lot of work to be done.  Add the Institute to the plans for the University Technical College and the work we are doing on getting the student employee hubs (formerly known as apprentices) embedded and you can see what I mean.  I’m eager to help out and need to get my head around the things to get on with.

What is great about Dynamo and the work that we have got involved in is that everyone involved is so willing to help.  We are all focussed on the region and its prosperity.

I wonder if NIT will take on more mature students.

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