City College Norwich has officially opened its stunning new building for digital skills today, paving the way for a major expansion of the specialist training that will be vital for businesses in the burgeoning digi-tech sector.
Growth in the UK’s digi-tech sector has significantly outstripped that of the wider economy and that trend is set to continue. New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership wants to see more of the £100bn worth of economic output nationally being generated in the region – with its Strategic Economic Plan forecasting a need to fill 10,000 vacancies in the digi-tech sector by 2024.
The importance of digital skills extends far beyond the digi-tech sector itself, with digital skills increasingly being required throughout the rest of the economy.
City College Norwich, New Anglia LEP, and Norwich City Council (through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Towns’ Fund) have collectively invested £11.4m in the Digi-Tech Factory as a direct response to this key skills priority for Norfolk and Suffolk. The official opening on Wednesday 20 October was timed to coincide with Colleges Week.
The Digi-Tech Factory is equipped with £750,000 worth of the latest computer technology. The building contains 340 PCs and 538 monitors specified for a wide range of digital applications ranging from programming to CAD, architectural design, animation, video editing, and Virtual Reality.
Its teaching spaces are fitted with 4K interactive touchscreens, high specification PCs, and double or large screens to suit whichever type of software is likely to be used, and to simulate the working environments where students will eventually be employed.
It is connected by two walkways to the award-winning Creative Arts Building, encouraging the natural cross-over and collaboration between the college’s University of the Arts London creative arts courses – including art and design, media production, graphic design, music, and photography – and digital skills training.
C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia LEP, said: “Two years ago, the LEP awarded the Digi-Tech Factory just over £6m from its Growth Deal with Government and it is extremely satisfying to see the result of that investment – a building that students are already using and enjoying, and which will equip us for the future.
“This facility is not only a striking addition to the campus at City College Norwich but a priceless asset to the region as it looks to futureproof its skills in this fast-growing sector.”
Corrienne Peasgood OBE, Principal of City College Norwich, commented: “The Digi-Tech Factory will play a key role in enabling us to deliver innovative, industry-standard learning, and a digital skills curriculum developed with substantial input from employers.
“It’s been brilliant seeing how the new building has been received by our lecturing staff, students, and apprentices, during the first weeks of term, and the difference this is already making to the teaching and learning of a wide range of digital skills.