College to support growth in the digital sector with new investments

March 5, 2020

Northumberland College has announced plans to create a dynamic, state-of-the-art, digital academy to address regional skills gaps

A new digital academy at Northumberland College – which will be based at the Ashington campus – is to be developed as part of a wider multi-million-pound investment programme.

It will offer high-quality education and training in digital software, coding, cybersecurity, virtual reality, games, animation and special effects, to support digital sector growth in line with the North East’s key economic priorities.

Nigel Harrett, principal of Northumberland College, says: “I am thrilled with the plans for our new digital academy at Ashington, which will support the development of future digital talent in Northumberland and beyond, as well as the region’s economic growth ambitions.

“Aligned with the UK’s industrial and digital strategies, this investment will allow students to specialise in digital innovation and develop the technical skills required for progression into a wide range of digital careers.”

In addition to the creation of the digital academy, there will be a sustained programme of improvement to the college’s IT infrastructure, which includes ensuring digital skills are embedded across the whole curriculum over the next three years. The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has identified the digital sector as an area of strategic importance with strong opportunities for growth. The North East’s digital community is one of the most productive and fastest developing in the UK.

Laura Partridge, digital programme lead at the North East LEP, reflects: “Meeting digital workforce challenges is at the heart of the North East LEP’s Digital for Growth strategy so this is a welcome announcement from Northumberland College.

“The digital sector is one that will help grow the regional economy, both now and in the future, so it’s essential we invest in key infrastructure and address skills shortages if we want to capitalise on the digitalisation of industry. The new digital academy will support the delivery of the North East Strategic Economic Plan and make our region even more attractive to employers.”

Northumberland College is the largest training provider in the county with centres in Ashington, Kirkley Hall, Berwick, Blyth, Newcastle and Hexham. Last year, it embarked on a multimillion-pound investment programme, which is part of the college group’s bold new strategic plan to ensure Northumberland College is one of the region’s leading education and training providers.

As well as the digital academy, the college’s Ashington campus will see the construction of an industry-standard health ward and a dynamic student hub, in addition to extensive refurbishments including brand new windows, a modern heating system, new boundary fencing and refurbished classrooms.

Student welfare, student experience and skills training is the main focus of Northumberland College’s redevelopment.

The first phase of the redevelopment programme is already underway and the new facilities are set to transform the college into a more modern, careers and skills-focused centre for school leavers and adults in Northumberland.

Northumberland College
For more information about Northumberland College and its extensive range of courses, visit the next open event or call 01670 841 200.

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