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College reveals plans to boost skills and enterprise in Nuneaton

Outline plans have been revealed by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire (NWSLC) to launch a Digital Skills and Innovation Centre in the heart of Nuneaton that will help to regenerate skills and careers opportunities in the town.

The plans follow news earlier this month that Nuneaton was named as one of 45 UK towns to benefit from £23M from the government’s Towns Fund.

College reveals plans to boost skills and enterprise in Nuneaton

NWSLC plans to deliver a new state of the art centre in the heart of the town centre that will enable access to digital skills training, provide an incubation space for business start-ups, and deliver a lifeline to the hospitality sector with the addition of a training restaurant that will be open to the public. The facility is expected to serve over 2,600 students over the next ten years, supporting 290 business start-ups and delivering value to the economy worth £13.4M.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “We’re delighted to be working with My Town Nuneaton to contribute to the regeneration of the town and boost opportunities for people to gain new skills that pave the way for exciting careers.

“We know that the UK is facing digital skills shortages and that careers in big data, AI, and superfast computing are set to grow on the back of swift developments in 5G connectivity. The Digital Skills and Innovation Centre is being designed specifically to address skills development in this area, as well providing space for entrepreneurs to thrive and grow.

“In addition, we have seen the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the hospitality sector. By re-locating our training restaurant to the town centre, we will provide a boost for vocational skills that will help the sector’s recovery in Nuneaton. The Catering and Hospitality team at NWSLC has a significant track record of success in national and international competitions, including winning two Gold medals at WorldSkills UK LIVE, first place in the UK Young Restaurant Team of the Year in 2018, and Best College in the Welsh International Culinary Championships on five occasions. The impact of this team’s well-developed ethos has led students to employment with prestigious establishments including at the Ritz Hotel London and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, and to owning and running their own successful establishments.

“We are committed to addressing the impact of COVID-19 on our local community which has disproportionately affected young people in Nuneaton and look forward to building on our plans to deliver work-based training and apprenticeships in the heart of the town centre, increasing footfall, reducing unemployment and supporting the development of thriving new enterprises.”

NWSLC has already set up a Digital Skills Academy in Coventry following a successful bid to secure funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority. The Academy was launched in response to growing momentum for the fast-paced digitisation of the UK and an acknowledgement that digital skills sit at the heart of all careers.

The Academy offers students a pathway to ‘in demand’ digital jobs in software development and cyber security so that businesses can access a pipeline of people with higher level skills and address gaps within their workforce. In addition, students can access opportunities to improve the types of digital skills on which every business increasingly relies. Courses and apprenticeships at a range of levels are available now via the Academy’s base at the Coventry University Technology Park in the heart of the city’s technology zone and online.  

The college is working with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, the My Town Nuneaton Board, Warwickshire County Council and the Transforming Nuneaton project on next steps and will publish its timeline for the development of the Digital Skills and Innovation Centre in the months ahead.

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