The Digital Academy will deliver enhanced and cutting-edge learning in an employer led, industry co-developed curriculum designed to prepare, educate and develop people of all backgrounds for a digital career. The £2m capital funding was won by UA92 in a bidding competition by the Office for Students in which 166 bids were made by higher education institutions across the UK.
“The funding will support the acceleration of the development of our state of the art, world class Digital Learning Academy by three years,” commented UA92 CEO Sara Prowse. “Our bid for these funds was built in response to partner and employer demand, and in partnership with key strategic regional and international partners. Together we have identified key digital skills gaps, we’re co-creating courses with business and world leading vendors, so we can both deliver a career ready digital workforce of graduates and digitally upskill employees across the region.”
The academy will be a digital ecosystem dedicated to digital learning and development, leadership and enterprise. It will include two specialist studios, a robotics lab, multiple flexible mobile digitally enabled learning studios and an immersive video environment. Fully accredited computer science degrees, degree apprenticeships and professional body certified short courses will include DevOps, Cloud, Linux, data science, cyber security, AR, VR and AI. The digital learning space will increase UA92’s capacity for digital students almost tenfold – from 65 to 634. The facilities will be also be available for students across media, sports and business disciplines.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham commented: “In Greater Manchester we have strong ambitions to be recognised as a world leading digital city-region. This exciting announcement from UA92 is important in enabling us to achieve this ambition.
“The new UA92 Digital Academy, which is set to be a talent centre of excellence, is an incredible opportunity for our city-region, helping to future-proof our digital talent pipeline and address the existing digital skills shortages ensuring the Greater Manchester digital sector continues to grow and flourish.”
Cllr Andrew Western, Trafford Council Leader and GMCA Lead for Digital, Work and Skills added: “Trafford Council has been a huge supporter of UA92 from its very early days and I am delighted that it has secured this funding. A facility like this will make a huge difference towards improving the digital skills we have in Trafford and Greater Manchester. It will support digital learning, enterprise and leadership at UA92 and produce a much-needed pipeline of talent.
“We see UA92 as an important part of our regeneration plans for the local area and are totally aligned with their vision to make Higher Education accessible to all.”