Tyne Metropolitan College has scored top marks for innovation and creativity by receiving a new industry-backed accolade from NEF: The Innovation Institute.

The college is the second further education college in the UK – and the first in the North of England - to be awarded the Investor in Innovations standard.

Investor in Innovations is an holistic standard that assesses the culture of innovation within an organisation. As well as validating innovation in terms of course design and long-term business strategies, the standard also assesses how entrepreneurialism and creative thinking are encouraged amongst individual staff and students. It has been developed by NEF in consultation with more than 40 leading STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-based employers.

In its final assessment, NEF particularly praised TyneMet’s strong relationships with business leaders and its active engagement with employers and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) to provide industry-relevant courses. NEF also highlighted TyneMet’s focus on collaborative technologies and sharing of best practice.

Innovation features strongly in two new initiatives from TyneMet, opening this Autumn. The college opened the IGNITE Centre for Engineering and Innovation in September 2015. The Centre provides specialist training in fabrication, electrical engineering, welding, milling and turning – skills that are in high demand regionally. As well as offering direct training services to local companies, IGNITE will offer student courses aligned to the trailblazer apprenticeship qualifications, starting 2015/16.

TyneMet College, Deputy Principal, Audrey Kingham said “We are absolutely delighted to receive the NEF Investors in Innovations Award – The whole college works very hard to underpin excellence in innovative practices – from fostering a culture of learning innovation to creating inspirational learning experiences, we demonstrably identify and fulfil industry demand with relevant qualifications, which ultimately make a dramatic difference to individuals, businesses and our local community. As a team we think very differently to provide solutions and this is the core of our practice underpinning this recognition.”

Hans Möller, North East LEP Innovation Director, said: "This award is official recognition for the culture of innovation that TyneMet College nurtures in its staff and it students.

 "Its new IGNITE Centre for Engineering and Innovation is a prime example of this. Providing the specialist training to embed the skills employers need from their workforce in fabrication, electrical engineering and welding is vital in filling posts in regional businesses.

"It will also make a telling contribution to the LEP's Strategic Economic Plan of creating more and better jobs for the North East economy."

NEF Chief Executive, Professor Sa’ad Medhat said,

“Innovation is deeply woven into TyneMet’s operations and long term planning, from the structure of its STEM-based courses to its strategic partnerships. Our assessors particularly commended TyneMet’s senior and middle managers for encouraging a strong culture of entrepreneurialism amongst staff and students.

“The overwhelmingly positive response from a diverse range of employers that participated in our accreditation process demonstrates the value that TyneMet brings to the local business community.”