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Green light for £2.29m Digital Skills Academy 

Published: Friday, 2nd December 2022

Photo of Stephen Barnes and David Rothwell at Nelson and Colne College

Stephen Barnes, Chair of the Nelson Town Deal Board with David Rothwell of Nelson Colne College

A £2.29m investment proposal for an Advanced Digital Skills Academy in Nelson has been given the green light by the Government.

The flagship project within the Nelson Town Deal has been established to help tackle Lancashire’s digital skills shortfall.

Developed in conjunction with the Nelson and Colne College Group, the Advanced Digital Skills Academy will play a vital part in promoting sustainable growth, transforming the town and providing new opportunities for local people.

Councillor Nadeem Ahmed, Leader of Pendle Borough Council, said:

“This huge funding pot for the Digital Skills Academy represents a big step forward towards future-proofing our town.

“Helping to push approval for the new Academy over the line is the county-wide digital skills gap that has grown at a time when demand among employers for digitally-skilled employees has never been higher.”

The Academy aims to integrate world-class teaching, innovation, and business acumen at Nelson and Colne College and create a new town centre learning hub to provide digital skills training for adult learners.
 “This project demonstrates the strength of partnerships forged through the Nelson Town Deal and of our shared commitment to upskilling our communities and retaining talent.

“The funding will be used to create a college hub for the project by refurbishing parts of the existing college building to create over 100 new teaching spaces with access to state-of-the-art equipment.

“This redevelopment will create a new learning environment to support the delivery of our digital T-Level courses, alongside our wider digital curriculum.

“And it will provide access to facilities for all learners wanting to improve their digital skills, including 200 high-spec PCs to be housed within the Academy itself.”

Upskilling and retraining opportunities will be offered at a range of levels from beginners to more advanced.

The project aims to improve people’s employability chances and to offer higher level courses designed to meet the specific digital skills demands of regional employers.

The hub element in Nelson town centre will also include a business space to facilitate interaction between learners and employers and a specific workspace for start-up businesses.

Stephen Barnes, Chair of the Nelson Town Deal Board, said:

“As the college campus is located outside the town centre, a key objective of the Academy and the town centre hub is to work in tandem, creating a strong connection between the college and the centre of Nelson.

“The new Advanced Digital Skills Academy is also designed to establish a link between local employers and learners as well as supporting a more vibrant town centre.

“Learners and participating businesses will get enormous benefit from this project which will also help to rejuvenate the town centre with increased footfall to support the businesses there.”