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£1.7m ‘Digital Skills Academy’ to open next year

£1.7m ‘Digital Skills Academy’ to open next year

Monday 24 December 2018

£1.7m ‘Digital Skills Academy’ to open next year

A new “centre for excellence” where islanders can gain degree-level qualifications in digital skills will open next September after the States pledged £1.7million for the project.

The ‘Digital Skills Academy’ will form part of Digital Jersey’s current premises on Grenville Street.

Outlining what the training centre will offer, Digital Jersey CEO Tony Moretta commented: “The launch of the Digital Skills Academy marks a step-change in our work, and is a testament to the growth of the Island’s digital sector.

“We will be able to offer on-island higher education courses for those leaving school or college, as well as bespoke courses for Islanders looking to upskill in an increasingly digital world. I’ve spoken, for months now, about the need for a suitably skilled workforce to meet the evolving requirements of employers. The Digital Skills Academy will work to achieve precisely that.” 

The Academy will work alongside institutes such as the Institute of Marketing and British Computer Society to offer accredited courses as well as local businesses. 

It will also work closely with Skills Jersey to ensure it is integrated into the island’s wider education provision. 

The government funding, which was signed off by Treasury Minister Susie Pinel last week, will also go towards expanding Digital Jersey’s deskspace to respond to what Mr Moretta described as “unprecedented demand”.

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Pictured: Digital Jersey CEO Tony Moretta announcing the plans.

Under the plans, desk spaces for digital businesses will increase from 28 to around 75.

“For the whole of 2018 we’ve been at full capacity with our permanent desks in The Hub, with a growing waiting list from start-ups and entrepreneurs who see our collaborative and supportive environment as the perfect place to grow their businesses,” Mr Moretta said.

The Minister with responsibility for the digital sector, Senator Lyndon Farnham, added: “I am delighted that this funding has been agreed. The digital sector has tremendous potential and, in order to capitalise on the opportunities presented by changes in technology, we need to ensure we are producing the right skills."

He continued: “By allowing us to target current skills shortages, this money will help accelerate the growth of the island’s digital businesses - creating jobs and boosting Jersey’s productivity. The funding will also provide space for SMEs, develop skills in schools and foster innovation in local digital firms through research partnerships.” 

The news comes over half a year after Digital Jersey announced its intentions for a Digital Skills Academy. At the time, it was estimated that the plans would cost up to £13.2million, with the original intention being to create a new premises including accommodation.

These latest proposals are based out of Digital Jersey’s current premises, however, and don’t include student residences.

Pictured: Digital Jersey is currently based on Grenville Street. 

Work to expand Digital Jersey’s deskspace will begin in mid-2019, while work on the Academy is due to open in September.

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