THE impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Hereford’s new university has only been described as a “minor hiccup” by a Government minister, despite having to delay its opening by 12 months.

The New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering was expected to officially open to its first cohort of students this month, but in July it was confirmed work to prepare campuses had not been finished.

As a result, NMITE leaders had to delay the opening but say they have been working hard to open for the next academic year.

On a visit to the Blackfriars Street campus earlier this month, Communities Secretary was impressed with ongoing work to get ready for students.

“I’m very positive about this, I think it’s a transformation of investment in Hereford,” he said.

“Of course, it’s like many other things that have been set back slightly as a result of Covid, but that’s only a minor hiccup in what will be a long-term prospect for the city.

“I’ve seen the campus beginning to take shape, met some of the faculty, seen some fantastic equipment now arriving being unpacked for students.

“The university is developing a plan whereby it can be Covid secure and those students can be on campus by the beginning of next year.”

During the brief visit to Hereford on September 11, Mr Jenrick, who has a family home in Eye near Leominster, said NMITE had recently been boosted by more funding from the Government.

“We’ve also invested from our shovel-ready projects fund, our Get Britain Building fund, just over £1.5million in NMITE so that the university can continue to progress as quickly as possible and get students onto the campus,” he added.

“It’s a project I’ve knows for a long time with my own connections to Herefordshire and also because the local MP Jesse Norman has been champoining it in parliament for as long as I’ve been a member, and I think it’s an extremely exciting project which has the ability to transform Hereford’s prospects.

“Creating a skilled workforce, retaining young people in the town and helping it prosper.”