People & Skills Projects - 03 November 2015

D2N2 Chief Executive cuts ribbon at digital academy opening

A new academy for information and communications technology (ICT) learners opened in Derby this afternoon (Tuesday November 3) – with D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Chief Executive David Ralph cutting the ribbon.

Derby College has teamed up with risual Limited to open a new Academy for ICT learners, to address a shortage of digitally skilled employees, and bridge the gap between industry and education. risual Ltd are a Staffordshire-based ICT services consultancy and winners of Microsoft’s ‘UK Partner of the Year 2015’ award.

The new academy, opened at Derby College’s Joseph Wright Campus in Derby city centre today, will aim to improve skills for both teachers and students. It will provide a high-tech learning environment, offer students Microsoft qualifications college-wide to improve digital literacy and enhance employability, and feature guest workshops with industry experts.

Derby is the second college in the UK to launch a risual Academy.

David Ralph, D2N2 Chief Executive, was invited to cut the ribbon at today’s official opening.

D2N2 is investing heavily in skills, both through new initiatives and financing, as part of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s work to boost economic growth and jobs across its area of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

One of its key aims is to get businesses, and skills and training providers, working more closely together; to ensure learners in the area are developing the skills needed within the area’s workforce. D2N2’s Provider Charter scheme, launched in April this year (2015), sets out to do exactly that, and it already has skills and training providers signed up to it who are responsible for thousands of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire students.

D2N2 is a private sector-led, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), with Board members drawn from business, skills and training, the community sector and elsewhere. There are 39 LEPs in England covering different areas.

Ian McCormick, IT Director at Derby College, said: “The experience students will gain as part of this academy will help develop the personal skills and attributes that employers are looking for, and will help shape young people’s career aspirations.

“The academy also addresses the skills shortages in growth areas identified by the Local Enterprise Partnership.”

Chris Clifford, Director of risual Education, added: “Our college partners have seen a significant increase in applications with the launch of the risual Academy. There is now the opportunity for one College in each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area to apply, and we are working closely with LEPs to select these centres of excellence.”

Mr Ralph said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to the opening of this new facility. Digital skills are vital to a whole range of business sectors and we’re working with our partners to make sure the D2N2 area leads on this.”

The UK Digital Skills Taskforce published a report, entitled Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s Worlds, which highlights that Britain faces a growing shortage of digital skills, whilst stereotypical perceptions of technology careers prevent many students from continuing into the digital industries.

 For more information about D2N2’s work to promote skills and training in its area see the web link HERE

Media wanting more information about the D2N2 LEP and its work can contact D2N2 Communications Manager Sean Kirby, on 01159 578749 or email

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