The University of Birmingham selected as preferred bidder to work with the National College of Advanced Transport & Infrastructure (NCATI)

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  • The University of Birmingham has been identified as the preferred bidder for the National College of Advanced Transport and Infrastructure by the Further Education Commissioner’s Structure and Prospects Appraisal process.

Following the first phase in a government initiated process to secure the future of the National College of Advanced Transport & Infrastructure (NCATI), the University of Birmingham, together with its partners, has been selected as the preferred bidder to take forward discussions with NCATI on potentially incorporating it into the University’s group.

The University’s bid draws on its widely recognised rail expertise, has strong industry backing and a wide range of partners that will help deliver the levelling up agenda in both the Midlands and the North.

Now the proposal will be further considered and scrutinised by government, the College, the FE Commissioner and the University’s Council (the University's governing body).

The College, based in Birmingham and Doncaster, has had significant financial and educational difficulties, and all parties need to be assured that these can be overcome before the transfer can be approved, to ensure support for students and the sector going forward. The bid sets out the University’s vision for a highly successful, financially sustainable and inclusive National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure that provides high quality education and training to meet the need of all the learners, sectoral partners and local communities and to support local, regional and national economic growth.

It builds on the significant railway engineering expertise already within the University, led by the globally respected Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, as well as the University’s sector leading industry partnerships and commitment to the regional growth and skills agenda.

Interim CEO at NCATI, Sue Dare MBE said:

 “We are delighted to have gained strong support from an internationally renowned university, which will enable us to deliver high-quality education and training to meet the future needs for the rail, transport and infrastructure sectors. We look forward to securing a bright future for the College through this exciting partnership with the University of Birmingham.”

Professor Tim Jones, Provost and Vice-Principal at the University of Birmingham said:

“We welcome the announcement that the University has been selected as the preferred bidder to formulate the development plans for the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure. We will continue to work with the College, government, the FE Commissioner, sector partners and University’s Council to further explore a successful, sustainable and inclusive future for the College.”


Notes to editors

Partners in the bid

Partners in the bid include the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR), Network Rail, City & Guilds, amongst others.

University of Birmingham background

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.

  • About the University’s railway engineering expertise:
    • In the specific area of railway engineering and operations, which is at the heart of NCATI, the University is by far the largest provider of Level 6 and Level 7 education, with over 550 students registered in the UK and Singapore.
    • The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) has an international reputation for translational research and education, and was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2017 for its international contribution to railway research and education.
  • About the University’s civic role:
    • The University of Birmingham was founded as the UK’s first civic university, a university that would work in partnership with the city’s commerce and industry and deliver benefits for citizens that extend well beyond higher education, this remains core to our purpose.
    • We are the only university to have opened our own secondary university training school dedicated to raising aspiration and achievement. The School, which was established in 2015 is a comprehensive non-selective institution with a highly diverse student population. This level of commitment is sector-leading, and we see this as a core element of our contribution to supporting young people from all backgrounds in the region. The experience that the University has gained in establishing the School has informed its decision to seek to lead and manage NCATI.
    • Incorporating NCATI into the wider University of Birmingham Group will allow us to deepen our civic engagement in the West Midlands, whilst establishing a presence in South Yorkshire.
    • We will ensure the National College is able to provide opportunities to the greatest possible number of local residents with routes into further education and work.

National College of Advanced Transport & Infrastructure background

The National College for Advanced Transport & Infrastructure is an employer-led college created by the Government to help British students develop world class skills.

Built on two state-of-the-art campuses in Birmingham and Doncaster, the College opened its doors to students in October 2017 to provide the training for the high-tech engineers, managers, designers, apprentices and advanced manufacturing talent needed for the UK’s high-speed rail industry, as well as other major British infrastructure schemes.

The College has been funded and supported by the UK Government, the Department for Education, the Department for Transport, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the Institute for Apprenticeships, HS2 Ltd, Birmingham City Council, Doncaster Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, Sheffield City Region LEP, West Midlands Combined Authority and the Midlands Engine.

For further information.


For more information please contact Dominic Benson, Deputy Director of Communications, University of Birmingham, on +44(0)7976 327 067. Alternatively, contact the Press Office out of hours on +44(0)7789 921 165.