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Official launch of £2.7 million high tech facilities at Askham Bryan College

Official launch of £2.7 million high tech facilities at Askham Bryan College

New £2.7 million facilities to train students in the latest high tech industry skills have been officially launched at Askham Bryan College in York.

Around 35 business, education and civic leaders attended the opening of a £1.7 million precision livestock facility and a £1 million Digital Skills Academy earlier this term.

Tim Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Askham Bryan College, said:

“We are delighted to have formally opened our exciting new high tech facilities that will benefit our students and employers.”

He explained: “Individually and collectively, we are all custodians for our environment and the demand for sympathetic management of that environment, be it for food production, environmental protection, crisis management or future planning, will be paramount to a stable, sustainable future.

“It is vital that our curriculum keeps pace and equips our students with new higher level technical skills that support the region’s employers.”

The £1.7 million precision livestock facility has been funded by the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology.

Comprising a calf rearing facility and beef grower unit, and a teaching and learning space, the state-of-the-art equipment is being used by diploma and degree level students studying at University Centre Askham Bryan.

The facility takes a fully digitised approach to sustainable high welfare farming. Students complete research and make animal husbandry and welfare decisions based on real time data. This includes recording each animal’s growth and health including its food and water intake via electronic wearable devices.

The £1 million Digital Skills Academy is funded by York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership through the government’s Getting Building Fund.

The academy focuses on equipping students, and those already in the workforce, with enhanced skills in line with emerging digital technology industry trends.

The facilities include immersive technology such as virtual reality headsets, the use of augmented reality, as well as environmental management applications of lidar scanning.

During the official opening event, guests took part in a tour of the new facilities, saw demonstrations of the new equipment and spoke with students and staff.

Stakeholders attending included local and regional employers as well as representatives from the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology, York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, City of York Council, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Landex, the Young Farmers’ Club and the University of York.

David Dickson, Chair of York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Place & Infrastructure Board, said:

“The Digital Skills Academy is an excellent development. It gives the current and future workforce the tools they, and their employers, need to flourish. York and North Yorkshire has ambitions to be a greener, fairer and stronger economy, and schemes such as these will help us get there.”

Student Fran Shaw, who is completing a BSc Honours Degree in Agriculture, said:

“Working with the new technology allows me to develop the emerging skills to take into the industry and gain an advantage to get the job I want.”

The Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology comprises a regional consortium of colleges, universities and employers with a £14 million capital investment from the Department for Education.

The official launch event took place earlier this term on April 19th, 2023.

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