Telford College has launched a new Digital Skills Hub – building on its close working relationships with companies in the fast-growing technology sector.
The hub, which will meet every two months, gives businesses an opportunity to feed directly into the college’s curriculum planning, and share best practice.
The launch was hosted in the college’s virtual and augmented reality suite with a wide range of businesses – some attending in person, and others remotely.
Among the big-name employers committed to the project are Capgemini, Fujitsu, Enreach UK, Bespoke Computing, Purple Frog Systems, Wrekin Housing Group, and Global Minds.
Shropshire Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System, and the digital communications team at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust are also backing the project.
Beckie Bosworth, the college’s employer engagement manager, said: “The concept is to bring in specialists from the sector to help shape our curriculum moving forward. It’s about listening to each other’s issues and concerns, and collaborating.”
This is Telford College’s third sector-specific employer hub, following the launch of a Health Hub which is now working with 10 different NHS Trusts, and an Engineering Hub which has already triggered changes to the college’s course offering.
Beckie said the impact which the hubs have had has been ‘really exciting’, and businesses described the framework as ‘really inspiring’.
Holly Davies, Telford College’s head of academic studies, explained the vision for a new digital and maths learning hub in the town’s ‘Station Quarter’, which she said was all about delivering ‘education in a more inspiring way’.
She said one of the key objectives was to make it easier for students to upskill and access higher paid jobs, and reduce the number of local people currently going out of Telford for their education.
Teresa Hughes, the college’s learner manager for business, professional and digital, gave an outline of the new T levels, and the opportunities they will create for industry placements to give technical students valuable work experience.
She also outlined the college’s proposed ‘Day In The Life Of…’ initiative, building up a bank of employers who can give students a taste of what it’s like working in a wide range of IT roles from software development to cyber security.
Future talking points for the group were agreed to include recruitment and skills needs, and more on the introduction of T levels which will come into effect in September 2023.
Beckie Bosworth added: “There are so many exciting employment opportunities in the technology sector right now, and we want to make sure that local people have the skills required to take advantage.
“Initiatives such as this help us to ensure that our curriculum planning is relevant and reactive, so that students have the best progression opportunities.”
Hollie Whittles from Purple Frog Systems said: “Employers like ourselves are in the area of data analytics using emerging technologies such as machine learning, and the current ‘digital’ curriculums don’t necessarily support routes into big data as it does not fit hardware or software.
“However, if students have an aptitude for mathematics and right attitude and willing to learn we can teach them everything else.”
Any companies interested in joining the hub are invited to contact Beckie Bosworth on 01952 642452 or email email@example.com, or find out more here.
*Photo credit Shropshire Star