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Digital Skills get a boost

17 April 2019

£28million has been granted to transform the historic Block D at Bletchley Park into the Institute of Digital Technology (IoT), which will help lead the way in advancing digital skills in the area.

In the twentieth century, the South East Midlands LEP area was famous for Bletchley Park: the birthplace of computing and the site of the WWII codebreakers. The area’s Local Industrial Strategy aims to put in place the conditions to ensure that, over the course of the twenty-first century, the area remains every bit as ground-breaking.

In order to do this, one of the key themes of the strategy is to enhance digital and creative skills in the area. The announcement of the IoT will aide in maintaining the history whilst laying fantastic foundations for the future not only for the city but for the wider region.

The institute is a joint initiative led by Milton Keynes College together with partners that include Cranfield University, Microsoft, KPMG, McAfee, Evidence Talks, VWFS and Activate Learning.

Around 1,000 students per year are expected to attend the institute which will focus on delivering NVQ Level 4 and 5 provision, including higher-level apprenticeships, thus supporting pathways to employment and helping to tackle the digital skills gap.

The investment will also complement the proposition of MK: U, which aims to be the country’s first business-led, STEM-skilled focus university. At proposal stage, the University is being backed by several partners including Cranfield University, Microsoft and Tech Mahindra and supported by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).

The Local Industrial Strategy is co-created by SEMLEP and the Government to plan how to facilitate the growth and prosperity of the area for the future. Actions will maximise opportunities from new ideas and innovation led by businesses in our area and put in place our response to the ever-changing technological landscape. Investment in digital and creative skills is highlighted by local business as impacting growth now. They are identified as critical skills to support the future growth of important sectors particularly digital design and digital manufacturing – key to strengthen our area’s nationally significant industry role in shaping next generation transport, the future of mobility and clean growth.

The Local Industrial Strategy is due to be published later this year. For more information about the Strategy’s priority themes and the wider work SEMLEP is doing to support businesses and employer-led skills development visit www.semlep.com/industrial-strategy

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