As he champions the impact of the government’s levelling-up cash currently being invested UK-wide, minister Michael Gove has singled out Gloucestershire College for high praise.
A £3 million investment courtesy of the government scheme has helped the college not just open a new Advanced Digital Academy and adjacent Hub8 workspace at its Cheltenham campus, but forge relationships with the county’s burgeoning cyber sector.
It is a move which positions it as a significant piece in the jigsaw being put together in Gloucestershire which includes GCHQ, the University of the West of England, the Golden Valley Development and the Western Gateway vision, plus the National Cyber Security Centre and CyNam.
Mr Gove, secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, said the investment was about ‘closing the skills gap and driving innovation in the cyber-security sector’ which he called ‘vital for prosperity and economic growth in Cheltenham and the wider region’.
‘Talented young people in the area from all backgrounds are gaining the digital skills they need, while businesses here provide them with excellent job opportunities to help unlock their full potential,’ said Mr Gove.
Taylor Watson, from Cyber Security Associates and a cyber degree apprentice at the college, said: ‘GC gives me one-on-one access to trainers with over 30 years’ experience in cyber, and opportunities I wouldn’t get elsewhere. It doesn’t get any better than this.’
Matthew Burgess, principal of the college, said: ‘Our learners can focus on one subject or industry, working from entry level to T Levels – equivalent to A Levels – or apprenticeships right up to degree level – all with an industry focus running through.
‘We are proud to be the only college in the country with an NCSC-recognised cyber degree apprenticeship programme, and to be working closely with these inspiring businesses.’
The college is part of the West of England Institute of Technology (WEIoT), which aims to bring bringing education and industry together and deliver university-level education for all.