Plans to create a new multi-million pound digital skills centre on Teesside will open doors to jobs in one of the world’s fastest growing sectors.
Middlesbrough College is proposing to build a three storey learning centre at its thriving Middlehaven campus. This complements the £3m Institute of Technology development which is already starting on site.
A bid has been submitted to the Department for Education to fund the build, which will support the College’s delivery of T-Levels – the new two-year qualifications that are technically-focused, and give learners extended work experience.
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, explained: “We’ve already successfully trialled T-Levels in subject areas including Digital, Construction, Education and Childcare and Health. These are all sectors that continue to create jobs on Teesside.
“The T-Levels format includes a 45-day industrial placement and exam assessment. Following the successful trial Middlesbrough College – as one of only a small number of chosen providers – will launch courses in September 2021.
“Our plans to create the digital centre are a key part of making that T-Level learning first class.”
Once completed in 2021, the building will create room for an additional 450 students across more than 2,000 sq m of learning space, as well as newly adapted café space.
Learners will benefit from specialist IT and computing equipment worth more than £500,000.
The facilities will complement Middlesbrough College’s existing digital strengths which include the NextGen Academy – a ground breaking industry partnership that links classes with experts from the games design, visual effects and animation industries.
Zoe added: “T-Levels provide more choice for students who want qualifications on a par with A Levels, but also want to focus on technical skills, perhaps because they’ve got ambitions to get a job in a particular industry.
“The new digital centre will be located adjacent to our sixth form building - MC6. We want students and parents to understand that T-Levels are a high quality route into further study, apprenticeships or employment.
“Those studying T-Levels will be able to mix with our A Level students, and receive top-class teaching driven by employer’s needs, which the college is known for.”
We have successfully placed a number of students in a variety of roles across games development (Double Eleven, Silver Lining) software development (Bradbourne Digital, Mabo Media, 360Fusion, Infinity Digital, Autumn Leaf Digital) and networking (Thirteen Housing Group, Eclipse IT, HFC Systems, Tascomp Ltd), with a number of these employers having offered students an apprenticeship or employment on the completion of their qualification.
Middlesbrough College’s plans also include the creation of a construction skills workshop where learners will get hands-on experience with tools and systems they’d expect to find in the workplace.
The new workshop is specifically designed to accommodate classes for the T-Level heating and ventilation pathways – a significant part of the construction industry.
A partnership with national building firm Wilmott Dixon will give students the chance to take work placements on high profile sites.
The college has made significant adaptations to ensure its campus is Covid-secure and students can study safely.