Digital innovation

WMCA funds new digital innovation hub

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) funding has allowed Walsall College to open a new technology centre, which is set to show local school students, adults and businesses how to make their digital mark.

The Digital Innovation Hub, in partnership with an IT services provider, is aimed at equipping local people with the digital skills needed to help them start new careers and support the region’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The WMCA has funded the £100k project for the partners to deliver a new education model for teaching, training, learning and assessment, while acting as a major gateway to employment with high technical and digital skills.

The hub will support local people, including students, school leavers and jobseekers by providing them with access to real world scenarios.

Operating as a centre for knowledge sharing and demonstration activity, the facilities include laser cutting, virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality equipment, all of which can be used for product design purposes and to trial and test artificial intelligence (AI).

Commenting, Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street said: “Sadly, many people have fallen out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic, but retraining or upskilling is a great way of finding employment again quickly.

“With rising automation and a changing job landscape, jobs in technology are in high demand. We estimate our digital industry will employ more than 100,000 people by 2030, but local people need to have the right skills to gain jobs in this growth sector.

“This shows how important it is that we are funding the Digital Innovation Hub to help Walsall residents make the most of these opportunities and enjoy a rewarding career in the tech sector.

“This partnership is a great example of how we are improving digital skills throughout the region by funding further education and private providers and working with them to develop new training that meets the needs of employers.”

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