From education to employment

Diggers drive progress on Middlesbrough College’s dazzling Digital Centre

L-R Nicola Loughran, Curriculum Team Leader in Computing at Middlesbrough College, Mike Pitchford, Contracts Manager at Surgo Construction, Anne-Marie Chiswell, Associate Director of Visual, Performing Arts and Digital at Middlesbrough College and Zoe Lewis, Principal and Chief Executive of Middlesbrough College.

A MULTI-MILLION pound digital facility that will transform Teesside’s tech scene is taking shape at Middlesbrough College (@MbroCollege).

Diggers are on site and work is underway on the new three-storey, state-of-the-art Digital Centre – part of the College’s successful Government-approved bid to deliver pioneering new technical qualifications, T Levels.

The purpose-built facility will be home to around 2,000 sq. m. of learning space including a dedicated film and TV studio, industry-leading programming suites, cyber labs, special effects rooms, games design suite and video editing suites.

Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “There’s a real demand for digital skills across all industries, it’s part of every business and is growing considerably – not just in the Tees Valley but nationally too.

“The start of work on our dedicated Digital Centre is another level of guarantee that Middlesbrough College remains at the forefront of digital skills development, delivering cutting edge T Levels courses that will transform the industry.

“We’ve already been working with digital businesses across Teesside for many months to successfully trial T Levels placements and this dedicated digital destination means students can look forward to even more opportunities to enhance their career prospects.”

T Levels 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.

Digital courses will cover skills in computing networking, web and app development, cyber security, digital video production and games development. 

Zoe added: “Teesside’s digital cluster is growing considerably but as we know, through our relationship with local businesses, there is a real skills shortage in the sector.

“T Levels are fantastic routes for school leavers who’ve finished GCSEs and want to get qualifications on par with A Levels with hands-on experience that will make them attractive to employers.

“Our Digital Centre will transform the learning opportunities available to these students and equip them with the technical skills needed to secure high value jobs.”

As part of its mission to encourage the younger generation to consider a career in the industry, the College is set to host its popular virtual Digifest over Easter half term on April 1, 9.30am – 3.30pm.

Aimed at 13-16 year olds, the interactive event will give aspiring programmers, games designers and digital ninjas a taste of coding, 3D games design, cyber security and virtual reality.

Anne-Marie Chiswell, associate director of visual performing arts and computing at ‎Middlesbrough College, said: “As much as our role is to build digital skills for the future, it’s also about inspiring the next generation to really explore digital as a career option and promote the opportunities available to them.

“The digital community here in the North East is one of the fastest developing in the UK and there’s so much potential on our doorstep. Our virtual Digifest will give young people a window into an exciting future that could be waiting.”

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