Meet James Newby, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering


Tell us about NMITE

NMITE is a rare thing. It’s a new Higher Education provider which launched two years ago in a sector where start-ups almost never happen. And the clue is in the name – it delivers a completely new model of learning which combines tried and tested international approaches and ground-breaking innovation, into a completely new educational offering for its students. Our programmes are flexible – allowing students to gain a full degree in as little as two years or as long as five years. They develop the hands-on skills needed to be professional working engineers and they learn how engineering connects to other disciplines and to society as a whole. They will graduate as ethically responsible and multi-skilled engineers – ready to get to work.

What do you think makes this company unique?

We set up NMITE to answer the government’s challenge in its 2016 Higher Education White Paper. That policy document highlighted the need to make the higher education sector more competitive, to encourage challenger institutions to start offering their own degrees and to increase choice for students. The white paper recognised that universities are engines of social mobility and economic growth – so their positive impacts should be extended to those areas of the UK that don’t have a university to call their own, the so called HE “cold spots”.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

So far, we are making very good progress. The buildings and infrastructure needed to build a university are now in place, our first cohorts of students are thriving on their courses and major employers including BP, Octopus Energy, HS2, JCB and Heineken are partnering with us to deliver our curriculum and ensure it remains connected to the real world. We are still small, but we are catching the attention of the engineering industry. We think we are on to something!

What can we hope to see from NMITE in the future?

We are constantly future gazing. In the next three years we plan to introduce new courses so that we can expand our reach. These will focus on sustainability, new technologies (including AI) and the relationship between engineering and the world around us. Our students will contribute to the sustainable built environment that we all want to live and work in and that addresses the climate emergency. In the longer term, we plan to expand our sites beyond our current base in Hereford. But the real prize lies in what we have learnt from our experience of setting up the UK’s first new Higher Education institution in a generation.
NMITE may be small and still local, but the opportunity is national and potentially transformational. Our model could be readily “lifted and shifted” to other towns and communities too small to host a large university but in desperate need of the skills and employment-based regeneration that good civic institutions can stimulate. These communities are normally far from London and the Southeast. Just imagine the potential impact of a wave of “red wall” mini-universities.