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Microsoft techspert hails £4.5m dazzling digital centre

TECH expert and former chief envisioning officer at Microsoft Dave Coplin has officially opened a multi-million-pound digital facility that will transform the Teesside’s tech scene.

He said the new dazzling Digital Centre at Middlesbrough College will be “transformative for the region, bringing together ambitious young learners, industry experts and tutors and businesses who’ll benefit from these unrivalled skills”.  

The state-of-the-art facility, which forms part of the College’s successful Government-approved bid to deliver pioneering new technical qualifications, T Levels, is home to industry-leading programming suites, cyber labs, video editing suites, a games design suite and a full TV and film studio.

Dave, formerly of Microsoft UK and now CEO and founder of The Envisioners, visited Middlesbrough College this week to officially open the state-of-the-art facility and inspire the next generation of techsperts with exclusive insights into the industry.

He said: “As a technologist and an optimist, I know that brightest of all our futures belongs to a world where humans and machines don’t compete with each other but instead, complement each other’s unique strengths and abilities. I think it is this, more than anything, that excites me most when I look at the opportunities being created by the College’s new Digital Centre.

“I am convinced that our future success as individuals will hinge almost entirely on our ability to be able to use technology to help make whatever we do, better. As a result, I truly believe that our relationship with technology will be one of the defining factors in the success of all of our lives.

“The College’s new Digital Centre has been built around that principle, offering a diverse range of incredible resources and skillsets to empower students to harness the opportunity that new technologies have to offer and to do so in a way that provides a direct pathway to employment and business value.”

Staff, students and guests from around the region – including Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston, who also spoke at the event – welcomed Dave to the £100m college campus. There, he had the chance to speak with young aspiring technologists who are already benefiting from world class training in computing networking, web and app development, cyber security, games development, and creative media, among others.

Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, said:

“Digital is part of every business and the pace of innovation in the sector is off the scale. There’s a real demand for digital skills across all industries.

“Here in the North East, our digital cluster is growing considerably but as we know through our relationship with local businesses, there is a real skills shortage, not just locally but nationally too.

“Despite the rise in job opportunities, there continues to be a downward trend across the county of people leaving school and not choosing digital related subjects. We’re on a mission to turn that decline around.

“Middlesbrough College remains at the forefront of digital skills development, delivering cutting edge T Levels courses that will transform the industry and this new, dedicated digital destination will give students even more opportunities to enhance their career prospects.

“We’re on a mission, through working with schools and employers and local authorities, to change decisions and outcomes.”

Middlesbrough College was selected as the first college in the Tees Valley to deliver T Level programmes from September 2021. The pioneering new qualifications include a minimum of 315 hours of industrial placement and students will have the opportunity to work on live briefs from leading digital businesses in the region.

Dave added: “We know that the economy is crying out for talented individuals who can combine a confident understanding of the incredible potential of technology with practical and pragmatic ways of using it to deliver tangible value. 

“In creating this new facility, Middlesbrough College is set up to deliver a pipeline of such people; creative, skilled and talented individuals who, just like the world class metals supplied by this region’s foundries in the 19th and 20th centuries, will go on to become the very foundations of the future success of 21st century businesses and communities both at home and beyond.”

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