In January 2019, New College Stamford formally opened its new state-of-the-art Digital Skills Centre to staff and students. The project received funding via the Greater Lincolnshire LEP from the Growth Deal, as well as backing from the Midlands Engine, allowing the college to improve the delivery of digital skills training and education while supporting their students through use of high-spec technological resources. Two years on, the Greater Lincolnshire LEP looks at what the new centre has meant for students, staff, and the local community.

One hundred and sixteen Computing and IT students are currently enrolled at the state-of-the-art Digital Skills Centre, and Stamford College is now able to offer career-tailored courses in Digital Media, Cyber Security including CISCO and Microsoft courses, and apprenticeships in Business, Digital Marketing, Computing, and IT.  

The centre replicates a professional agency environment with smart technology and access to the latest cyber security, data modelling, programming, and virtual simulation software to give the best possible training to future-proof students’ roles in the digital sector.  

Gaining a fresh insight into what the new centre has enabled Stamford College students to achieve, the LEP spoke to Thomas Barber, a Level 3 Year 2 Computing student, who said: "The Digital Skills centre has been a great asset in aiding me throughout my two years at Stamford College.  

“The centre is warm and welcoming, from the comfy seating where we can relax during our breaks and free time to the group tables, where you can sit with friends or classmates during lessons or breaks to complete work.  

“Every classroom is fitted with high-performance PCs, which are brilliant for our course and make completing work a breeze. I cannot emphasise enough how nice it is - if I could, I would never leave!” 

Gary Munson-Pike, Head of Business, Media, IT, and Travel at Stamford College, said: “Since opening in 2019 the centre has helped our students greatly. In the UK there is currently a skills shortage of people working within specialist digital sectors.  

“This means there’s a whole host of local employers looking for people with the skills we help to build right here at the Digital Skills Centre, ensuring our students get the best possible start in their careers.” 

Alan Day, Lecturer in Computing, added: "The Digital Skills Centre provides state-of-the-art resources and facilities that promote and embrace emerging technologies. This offers our students a professional environment that has enabled outstanding learning, giving them the opportunity to work collaboratively on projects. The use of the large, interactive screens in each classroom has particularly provided an innovative approach to teaching and learning. 

“We now have the resources to develop students’ skills and knowledge, giving them a head start when looking for employment or for higher education.” 

Janet Meenaghan, Principal and CEO at Stamford College, said: “The renovation of our Digital Skills Centre is one in a long list of developments over the past few years.  

“Amongst them all, the Digital Skills Centre is the best example of our commitment to harness potential and ensure our students, local employers and community are future-proofed to support the ever-growing digital skills sector.” 

The Government’s Growth Deal, also known as the Single Local Growth Fund, helps provide funding support for projects such as this in order to create and safeguard jobs, deliver strategic infrastructure schemes, develop hundreds of new homes, or invest in education. Click here if you would like to find out more about Growth Deal projects and funding in Greater Lincolnshire.