A £2.4m Tech Campus supported by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has been opened at Suffolk New College by Jimmy Doherty.
The facility in Ipswich has been set up with the aim of teaching learners transferable skills that will allow students to work in a number of roles in the Information Technology (IT) industry. Courses subject areas will include Esports, Games Design and IT and a brand new T level course in Digital Production, Design and Development will also be taught in the building in 2022.
Jimmy Doherty received advice and support from the Suffolk Rural campus at the college when he was embarking on farming and has maintained a link with it ever since.
The star of numerous TV shows including Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped series and a patron of the college said: “I’m passionate about education and it was a pleasure to open this new facility. I have a long history with the college going back almost 20 years.
“My farm manager is a former student of Suffolk Rural and a current ambassador for the college and our business offers work experience opportunities and support for college programmes.”
In terms of future plans, he added: “I’m very excited to announce that students who study courses at the Tech Campus will have the opportunity of supporting my plans to launch a new YouTube TV show.”
Principal of the College, Viv Gillespie, said: “This was another landmark day in our history and we are excited about the opportunities this facility will bring to the region.
“Students who come to the Tech Campus will get the advanced technical IT networking skills they will need to hit the ground running when it comes to gaining a career or progressing into higher education. We are incredibly thankful to everyone who has made this project come to life.”
The college has been able to fund this project thanks to £1.6m from New Anglia LEP’s Growth Deal with Government and aims to provide high-tech skills for new generations to support this growing industry.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of the LEP, said: “Tech skills are needed by businesses in all sectors so it’s important that we invest in facilities like this which will help to supply that skilled workforce for the future.
“We’re delighted to have supported the new Tech Campus through our Growth Deal with Government. This first-class new facility will offer brilliant learning opportunities for the students who will become the tech stars of the future.”
Colchester-based property and construction consultancy Ingleton Wood was appointed to provide project management, building services design, health and safety, and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) assessor services for the design and build, purpose-built Tech Campus at Suffolk New College.
Paul Ruffell, Director and Project Manager at Ingleton Wood, said: “The state-of-the-art Tech Campus will no doubt inspire the next generation of creative and digital superstars whilst solidifying Suffolk’s reputation as a leader in technology and investing in local skills to help meet industry demand.
“We used our extensive expertise in the education sector to deliver this major project on time, on budget and to specification. We were also pleased to help achieve a Very Good BREEAM rating, meaning the Tech Campus will be a long-term, sustainable green investment for Ipswich and Suffolk for generations to come.”
Student Dominic Stuart is a Level 3 media student from Ipswich. He said: “I’ve learnt good skills to take me forward on my course and it (the Tech Campus) is a nice space and a good investment.”
Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, was also in attendance. He said: “I was at the new Tech Campus at Suffolk New College last night to celebrate its opening. I also had the opportunity to meet a number of the students.
“Skills in the technology sector are of growing importance. Suffolk New College is taking initiative to give young people the skills they need to grab the opportunities in the future.”