Students, staff and industry partners from across Activate Learning’s three campuses met at Reading College on 15 November to celebrate the official opening of an IT Solutions Lab and the Technology Faculty Awards.
Technology teaching and learning is particularly important in Berkshire, where 1 in 9 jobs are in digital technology, more than double the national average. Activate Learning’s partner, The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has found that many local employers, particularly smaller firms, struggle to recruit digital technology specialists and believe there needs to be more local training.
The state-of-the-art IT Solutions Lab is equipped with 40 computers that provide students with robotics, website, networking design and development learning opportunities. The Lab has been sponsored by the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP as part of their commitment to business growth and skills. Representatives from partners including Vodafone, Cisco, Waitrose, Tenable, Volume and the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce attended the event, and the lab was formally opened by Katharine Horler from the Thames Valley LEP and the Mayor of Reading, Cllr Debs Edwards.
Katharine Horler, Non-Executive Director of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and Chair of the LEP’s Skills, Employment and Education Strategy Group, said, “This is another example of how the LEP has supported an innovative facility using Local Growth Funds from government.
“Reading College’s IT Solutions will play a key role in training the next generation of technology industry professionals, providing students with the opportunity to work with high tech equipment that can facilitate progression to higher level skills and awards.
“This forms part of the solution in upskilling the current workforce by providing much-needed access to product development and innovation facilities.”
Alex Warner, Director of Faculty: Technology and Reading College’s Acting Head of Campus said: “We are very grateful to the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP for supporting us through the IT Solutions Lab and we were delighted to welcome them and other leading industry partners to the Lab opening and the Technology Faculty awards that followed.”