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Leigh College unveils plans for a Digital Skills Academy

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@LeighCollege is delighted to announce a brand new Digital Skills Academy due to open in September 2020.

The new facility has been developed in response to current research findings that suggest there are skills shortages in the multi-discipline IT industry including cyber security, software development and programming.

This presents an exciting opportunity for Leigh College learners to take advantage of their skills and knowledge in this field to gain future employment in an ever increasing sector.

According to North West labour market analysis (Emsi) there is over a 4% rise in employment opportunities for programmers & software developers as well as information technology and telecommunications professionals.

The Academy aims to meet the needs of the digital sector including the games development industry where there are particular skills shortages for high-powered mathematicians and computer scientists in the UK that they need to build increasingly sophisticated products.

The College is developing three state of the art learning laboratories; each with equipment focusing on a specific digital specialism will enhance the student learning experience.

One specialist area is The Internet of Things laboratory, which comes equipped with facilities to develop electronic products that sense their immediate environment and allow for automated control of home electronics with integration via smart home products like Amazon Alexa and Hive.

A Cyber Security and Digital Technologies laboratory will allow students to develop skills in the use of software and techniques in Web Development as well as Cloud Computing and Games Development with the use of VR technologies.

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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s research findings suggest there are cyber security skills gaps in basic and high level technical skills, as well as managerial, planning and organisation skills.

Half of an estimated 1.32million UK businesses are not confident about carrying out cyber security risk assessments or preparing cyber security training meaning there will be plenty of positions available in this sector.

There is also a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence laboratory that is designed to develop students building and programming of robots to fulfil a range of activities. Equipment includes walking robots, including a six-legged spider robot, robotic arms and 3D AI software.

Further findings from the labour market review suggest that skills in artificial intelligence and data analytics for example will be in greater demand.

Head of Business & Computing, Nick Long said: “The new state of the art facilities will provide a unique learning experience which will help to prepare our students for both higher level study and progression to employment.

“Our specially designed courses are aimed to provide our students with technical skills preparation for an ever expanding digital industry where the opportunities for employment are much greater.”

To find out more about the Digital Skills Academy come along to our open evening on Monday 16th March 4:30pm – 7pm at Leigh College.

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