3 November 2015

Derby College has teamed up with Microsoft’s UK Country Partner of The Year 2015, risual Limited, to open a new Academy for IT learners in order to address a growing shortage of digital skills and bridge the gap between industry and education.

The new academy is opening today (3 November) at the College's Joseph Wright Campus in Derby city centre.

The academy will improve skills for both teachers and students with workshops from industry experts, provide a high-tech, exciting learning environment for IT learners and also offer Microsoft qualifications college-wide to ensure all students are improving their digital literacy.

This will be the second college in the UK to launch the risual academy. Chris Clifford, Director of risual Education explains:

“Our college partners have seen a significant increase in applications with the launch of the risual academy. There is now the opportunity for one college in each Local Enterprise Partnership area to apply, and we are working closely with LEPs to select these centres of excellence.”

Rich Proud, Co-Founder at risual Limited, which operates nationally from its headquarters in Stafford, comments:

“risual are excited to be working in partnership with Derby College and working together to offer fantastic opportunities to learners and apprentices in the Derby area - providing relevant and highly skilled workforce for employers.

"By partnering with Derby College risual education gives local employers the assurance that their apprenticeships will be delivered by an academic expert as well as an industry expert, maximising the opportunity to succeed and offering increased apprenticeship opportunities to Derby College’s students.

Ian McCormick, IT Director at Derby College comments:

“Derby College are excited to be involved in the launch of the risual Microsoft Academy. The experience students will gain as part of this academy will help develop the personal skills and attributes that employers are looking for and will help shape young people’s career aspirations."

UK Digital Skills Taskforce published a report Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s Worlds which highlights that Britain faces a growing shortage of digital skills, whilst stereotypical perceptions of technology careers prevent many students from continuing into the digital industries.

Estimates from the Science Council suggest that the IT workforce will grow 39% by 2030 and a report from O2 stated that around 745,000 additional workers with digital skills would be needed to meet demands between now and 2017. However figures show that insufficient ICT apprenticeship vacancies are being created, with over 10 applicants competing for each vacancy in 2013/14.