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Business & Economy

Teesside University announce free digital skills training

Public, private and voluntary sector professionals in the Tees Valley and County Durham will be able to sign up to free digital skills training – both technical and creative – as part of Teesside University’s response to COVID-19.

The Digital Skills for Growth programme was due to run as physical events but is now being offered as a series of online accredited courses scheduled  April 20 to June 24.

The eight courses will span a combination of half-day and full-day sessions meaning that public, private and voluntary sector workers from any industry or any size – including those on furlough – can gain professional development in areas such as art for games and film, coding, data visualisation, developing personalised business intelligence solutions with Microsoft POWER BI, digital marketing, making sense of digital business, and web production.

The programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund and delivered by the University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies. University colleagues at DigitalCity, funded from the European Regional Development Fund across Tees Valley, will also provide a mentoring service to Tees Valley learners and SMEs to help their employers gain maximum benefits for their upskilling.

Siobhan Fenton, Teesside University associate dean (enterprise and business engagement) [pictured] said: “Given the unprecedented situation, we have adapted our project for the immediate short-term and changed the way we are going to be delivering some of our accredited courses so that everything is online.

“While we understand that minds are focused on the immediate challenges, given the positive feedback we had originally from organisations about our training, we wanted to offer people the opportunity to continue to access the courses in a safe environment.

“It presents a fantastic opportunity for public, private and voluntary sector employees to future-proof their digital skills at this time. Importantly, there is no charge for the courses.

“The world in which we work, live and play is clearly changing and we need to keep up with technology in all aspects of our lives. Digital technology, particularly artificial intelligence and data analytics, has introduced revolutionary changes in every sector to enhance efficiency, increase productivity and reduce costs. Arguably this is going to be even more important for business once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.”

For primary and secondary school teachers – and non-teaching staff in schools signing up to the Digital Skills for Growth programme – they will also get a six-week lesson plan to take back to school and deliver to pupils.

Siobhan added: “While again we understand that teachers are extremely focused at this time, the bespoke training will help to address the digital skills gaps and teacher training needs in the region that were identified by schools and we wanted to deliver against our original promise to help them.:

DigitalCity director Lynsey Robinson added: “With our extensive network of digital expertise, DigitalCity is able to provide a mentoring service that will help businesses come out of this crisis stronger than ever. We want to support as many local businesses in the Tees Valley as we possibly can during these challenging times.”

Anyone who completes the short accredited courses will receive a University Certificate in Professional Development in Digital Skills Qualification.