College leaders in Lynn have launched a new partnership which they say will expand the opportunities availabe to students and plug the area’s digital skills gap.
The initiative involving the College of West Anglia, Microsoft and risual was unveiled during a ceremony on the Lynn campus yesterday.
The move is intended to lead to the creation of a regional centre of excellence for IT at the college, which is the only further education institution to have the status in Norfolk and Suffolk.
The college’s principal David Pomfret said: “This enables us to extend the range of IT training to our local businesses and community and offers fantastic student enrichment opportunities.”
Under the partnership, the college has become a Microsoft academy, with a new state of the art IT suite featuring the latest technology.
The complex will be used by staff and students alike to help improve their IT skills.
The college has also become an apprenticeship partner college for risual, which it says will greater opportunities for students to undertake IT apprenticeships across the region.
The programme also includes more advanced course programmes.
The site will also be promoted by Microsoft as a centre of excellence across the area of the New Anglia local enterprise partnership, which covers Norfolk and Suffolk.
Mr Pomfret said: “This partnership enables us to extend the range of high quality CPD (continuing professional development) as we gain access to a huge amount of Microsoft online learning materials covering the full range of Microsoft products and IT topics, from introductory level to advanced professional certification.
“We will also be supporting a number of our staff to become Microsoft Certified Educators.”
Richard Proud, owner and director of risual, added: “We are passionate about Microsoft.
“These are the skills that employers want; they want people to understand Office, they want people to understand Excel.
“We are privileged and proud to be a part of this and be supporting this effort and we hope that this is going to be a great success for all of the associated parties.”
The partnership comes ahead of the launch of the planned new university centre on the college campus, which is expected to open this autumn.