Lancaster University experts will help transform business through digital creative tech

13 March 2019 by Ed

Computing experts at Lancaster University are part of a collaborative project to develop a bespoke learning programme that can help transform business in media, manufacturing and engineering through creative digital technologies.

Lancaster University experts will help transform business through digital creative tech

The project is led by the University of Arts, London as well as Goldsmiths University and online social learning portal FutureLearn.

With a grant worth £581,000 from the Institute of Coding Future Projects Fund, the partners will develop a new learning programme: ‘Creative solutions to digital transformation’ – a portfolio of online learning courses for employers and employees with pathways for learners to increase their understanding and skills in creative digital technology.

Focused on the future environment, the programme will cover specific creative digital technologies that can transform opportunities in media and manufacturing, as well as key roles and skills and how these can be future-proofed. The learning focus and content will be designed in collaboration with Made Smarter, Nesta and Semta to ensure it matches the real identified needs of industry.

Dr Joe Finney, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Institute of Coding at Lancaster University, said: “Modern Computer Science is a creative, collaborative and exciting subject that empowers people to innovate new ideas and solve problems in society. We are committed to revolutionising the face of Computing to reflect these inclusive and diverse opportunities that it provides. We are proud to work with our colleagues in the Institute of Coding to develop online courses that inspire learners throughout the UK and the world in the areas of Physical and Creative Computing. Building on our previous global success in collaboratively developing the BBC micro:bit, these courses will provide an open and accessible foundation for a diverse range of people to create their own digital futures.”

Mick Grierson, Professor and Research Leader at the Creative Computing Institute, UAL, said: “It’s great for the Creative Computing Institute to be leading this project with our Institute of Coding partners. Creative Technologies are a core part of UK engineering and productivity - across marketing, design and prototyping, as well as core problem solving for product development. Diversifying skills in these areas can help businesses to prosper and profit through creative digital solutions. We’re interested in supporting new and existing staff in businesses across the sector to develop better understanding and skills in creative technology, ensuring industries have vital access to diverse creative technology experts who can help them reach greater potential by embedding creative digital technologies into their business models.”

The Institute of Coding (IoC), a consortium of universities, employers and outreach organisations, with a mission to develop the next generation of digital talent at degree level and above, announced the formal allocation of £2.4million of funding to tackle the UK’s digital skills shortfall across a wide range of areas. An overall fund of £4.8million includes £2.4m of grant funding provided by the Office for Students (OFS) and a further £2.4m of match funding from the consortium of partners that have formed the winning bids. 

Future Projects Fund grants were allocated across six winning groups each led by an academic institution, funds were allocated by the IoC’s industry advisory board, consisting of 18 senior executives from leading businesses as part of a formal tender process. All of the new courses are geared to train tens of thousands of learners who will be able to start on the courses during the next 12 – 18 months.

Stephen Somerville, Managing Director, Government and Employer Partnerships at FutureLearn, said: “We’re delighted to be working with The University Universities of Leeds, Lancaster, Goldsmiths and the UAL Creative Computing Institute to host such an important portfolio of courses and at a time when the need for investment in digital skills is so clear.

“The Institute of Coding is an excellent example of cross-sector collaboration and exactly the kind of initiative we need to be celebrating. At our inaugural employment roundtable earlier this month, which brought together educators and employers, digital skills was unsurprisingly high up on the agenda and it is encouraging to see an investment of this scale committed to tackling the challenge.”

Sheila Flavell, Chair, Institute of Coding Industry Advisory Board, said: “These courses will give thousands of people access to high quality learning opportunities and practical support at a time when employers need it most. Our extensive programmes, built in partnership with industry leaders, will widen access to the technology industry, spreading opportunity to people from a range of diverse backgrounds and strengthen our digital economy at a crucial time.”

The Institute of Coding is a consortium of universities and employers, with a mission to develop the next generation of digital talent at degree level and above. The IoC will develop higher-level digital skills capabilities among those already in work as well as improve graduate employability. Its goals include developing specialist skills training in areas of strategic importance, boosting equality and diversity in technology-related education and careers and producing research, analysis and intelligence to anticipate future skills gaps.

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