A £6.5m project which will place De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) at the forefront of digital education has been announced today.
Thousands of students are set to benefit as a new Digital Tech Learning Hub is built on campus, combining state-of-the-art facilities with a fresh approach to teaching and investment in industry-standard technology.
It will to help more graduates into highly-skilled roles, support companies to upskill their staff and enable more flexible and inclusive study programmes.
Demand for digital skills has never been greater, with the Government’s UK Digital Strategy anticipating a further 678,000 jobs in the tech sector by 2025.
However, employers say they struggle to find staff with the advanced digital skills needed.
The funding, announced today by the Office for Students, will see a raft of adaptable spaces created in place of lecture theatres and office spaces in Gateway House, designed for practical, collaborative working supported with industry standard software. At its heart are three headline investments:
• A DMU private cloud to allow students in Cyber, AI, Data Analytics and Data Science to gain experience of real-world scenarios and gain advanced digital skills
• A SCADA network to provide learners with the latest digital opportunities in cyber defence and resilience, by training on a custom version of an industrial network
• A Digital Creative Suite with motion tracking and image capture technologies which bridge the gap between computing and the creative technologies
Vice-Chancellor Professor Katie Normington said: “This investment from the Office for Students heralds the beginning of a truly innovative approach to digital skills education at DMU. It brings together our expertise in cyber, computer science and creativity in a new, fresh way that will deliver results for our students, academics, and businesses.
“The new hub will empower our learners to develop much-needed digital skills, enabling businesses to grow and diversify, but will also give this talent interesting, sustainable and well-paid careers.”
DMU’s bid to the Office for Students builds on the university’s expertise in digital skills. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – part of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) –named DMU a gold standard Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE), making it the first university in the East Midlands to achieve the prestigious status.
The university is the strategic digital partner for the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and was last month unveiled as the delivery partner for the Leicester, Leicestershire Economic Partnership’s Digital Skills Programme to support upskilling and improve digital inclusion.
Professor Shushma Patel, Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Media, said: “We hope that our hub will lead to a step change in the learning experience for our students and collaborative partners.
“Our hub model champions collaborative working and learning on industry projects, embedding key STEM skills while building competencies of teamworking, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity – all of which will enhance the employability prospects of our students.”
The Office for Students (OfS) is awarding £432 million in capital funding to support investment in new buildings, facilities and equipment for universities and colleges across England.
Successful capital bids demonstrated value for money, effective project management and environmental sustainability. Bids also demonstrated how they met one or more priority categories.
Susan Lapworth, chief executive of the OfS, said: “The OfS-funded capital projects will ensure current and future students have a positive experience while studying expensive-to-deliver subjects that are strategically important to society. Taxpayers will feel these benefits too, as our investment will boost local and regional economies and support environmental sustainability.”
De Montfort University
De Montfort University