A college designed to prepare workers for major infrastructure projects is set to close its doors after seeing dwindling enrolment figures.
The National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure (NCATI) was set up by the UK Government in 2017, predominantly to provide skills training for the construction of HS2.
However, it struggled with student uptake, enrolling a fraction of the applicants it was created for.
After a consultation with staff, students, stakeholders and partners, the Board determined the future of the college was untenable and resolved to cease its further and higher education programmes and to wind down the college by 31 July.
Interim principal and CEO, Lowell Williams, said the priority is for all current learners to finish their studies before the college closes for good.
And while some will remain inhouse, others will be transferred to DN Colleges Group or to South & City College Birmingham. Apprentices will finish their studies with providers, Williams added.
Voluntary severance packages for staff are being processed but all employees will be gone by October.
The buildings, however, in Birmingham and Doncaster, will remain an asset of the further education (FE), and rail sectora, said the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
“The NCATI Board, with support from the University of Birmingham, has resolved to discontinue the direct delivery of its further and higher education programmes, and to wind down the college by 31 July 2023,” said Williams.
“This decision follows a robust consultation process with our staff, learners, employer partners, and other stakeholders, during which we explored several different ideas and suggestions for the future of the college.
“Unfortunately, we have been unable to identify a sustainable future for NCATI as a direct deliverer of education, and therefore we have made the difficult decision to discontinue delivery of learning.
“Our first priority now is to ensure all our learners have the opportunity to complete or continue their studies. Dependent on their location, our 24 learners on study programmes will transfer to either DN Colleges Group or to South & City College Birmingham; 25 higher education learners and 38 apprentices will complete their programme with NCATI this academic year; and with the support of their employers, 81 apprentices with an end date beyond 31 July 2023 will transfer to other good quality providers.
“Sadly, this does mean that the college will now be following up voluntary severance applications received from staff during the consultation process. I envisage staff will be leaving the college in the period of May through to October 2023.
“The ESFA has expressed a desire for NCATI’s buildings to remain an asset for the FE sector and the rail industry, as originally envisaged, and we continue to work with the ESFA, City of Doncaster Council and Birmingham City Council in determining the future use of the buildings. The Board is also continuing to explore collaborative models that might be developed as a legacy to NCATI’s original mission and vision.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to say how very much we regret the outcome of the consultation process. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to all our staff for their continued professionalism, support and commitment to our learners and their fellow colleagues, in what has understandably been and will no doubt continue to be a period of uncertainty.”
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