New Managing Director Appointed to Lead £10.5 million iMET Skills Centre

Leading construction industry professional Joanne Sainsbury today takes up her new role as head of iMET, a key new £10.5 million manufacturing and engineering skills centre designed to support the region’s economic growth.

Picture: Joanne Sainsbury, the new managing director of iMET skills centre

Joanne, who has extensive experience of the engineering industry and a passion for emerging technologies, is a former Associate Director at global professional services firm Arup, where she led commercial, residential and sport projects. She has spent 16 years as a structural engineer in the building industry and has worked on a number of international projects.

iMET, the Innovation, Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology centre, is due to open at Alconbury Weald in 2018 and will focus on high-level training for businesses and apprentices in the key areas where increased skills have been identified as essential for growth.

It will be led by Cambridge Regional College – the Further Education STEM College of the Year and the top FE college in the country for 16-18 year-old level 3 student achievement – and Peterborough Regional College, in a joint partnership.

The development of the skills centre has been supported by Huntingdonshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Urban & Civic and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.

Joanne takes up her new role as managing director of iMET on 18 December and is looking forward to building a strong relationship with local employers.

“Together we can directly influence the future of the manufacturing, engineering and technology industries, whilst also providing a career path for young people in the region,” she said.

“Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have great potential for growth in these areas and are key to the region’s development. I will be working with employers to understand what they need, how they see the future of their industries and develop what we can offer.

“The rate at which the manufacturing and engineering industries are changing is huge in terms of technology advances, so keeping up with training and skills to meet the demands from employers will be a key objective for the iMET team.”

Land for the innovative training centre was donated by the owners and developers of Alconbury Weald, Urban&Civic, and the £10.5 million funding for the project came from the Government via the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.

Training courses will focus on Engineering, IT, Life Sciences, Construction and Advanced Manufacturing – all identified as key areas where more high-level skills training is needed.

Cambridge Regional College Principal Mark Robertson said: “This is a very exciting development for skills in the region, and we are delighted to welcome Joanne as the new managing director of iMET. She is a talented and experienced professional with excellent vision and leadership who will oversee its development into one of the top training centres of its kind.

“Cambridgeshire is the fastest growing economic region outside London, but skills shortages are reported as a major barrier to sustaining that growth. iMET will be employer-led and employer-responsive, ensuring the provision of the high-level skills the region needs to continue its growth.”

Cambridge has been identified as a key economic driver for the wider region, and an asset for the UK as a whole, while Peterborough is focusing on becoming the national capital for green technology industries.

Growth at Alconbury Weald is a strategic policy priority for central government and for regional stakeholders. The GCGP LEP Strategic Economic Plan highlights the need for business-focused higher-level skills provision in its area.

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Notes to Editors

Cambridge Regional College is the top FE college in the country for 16-18 year-old level 3 student achievement and the STEM Further Education College of the Year. It is a leading apprenticeship provider, with full-time and part-time courses, apprenticeships and higher education programmes, and 3,000 full-time students and 3,800 apprentices currently in training.