Northumberland College Set To Produce The Next Generation Of Tech Workers

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Coding and programming is an increasingly important part of this new era, one that requires young people to be more digitally literate so they can keep up in this changing world. It is crucial that young people are learning to use the most up-to-date technology available, especially as many employers are looking for these skills. However, the UK has a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills deficit which has been reported for many years, and now, low levels of expertise are one of the biggest concerns for Britain’s business community. As the country’s pipeline of talent in this fast-paced technological workplace is not equipped with the skills needed to be globally competitive. Now is the time for action.

This is why the Community Foundation has decided to ramp up Northumberland College’s commitment to STEM subjects, by giving it a £4,322 grant. This funding will pay for Raspberry Pi kit - robot base units, optical sensors, magnetic compass and range sensors – all of which will give 120 students the opportunity to take part in a major practical project and presentation. By updating its equipment, the College will improve its ability to deliver at the cutting edge; this grant comes soon after Northumberland College announced it is investing £2.5 million on a new Science and Technology Centre at its Ashington campus, opening in 2017.

This new Centre will include specialist science and technology workshops, putting the College at the forefront of the county's approach to upskilling the next generation of technologically-minded people. It will also help plug skills shortages in industries where STEM subjects are vital. New courses are being designed in conjunction with employers covering fabrication, processing, IT, digital, robotics and hydraulics. The practical learning by students here will focus on skills that will be valuable in the workplace, showcasing to the North East employers that the College is committed to improving STEM education in the region.

The Community Foundation grant for the equipment came from the Platten Family Fund, set up by philanthropist Tony Platten after the sale of his electronic engineering company Tynetec; Platten has one goal in mind - to equip today's young people with the skills and resources they need to forge careers in STEM. There are big plans for the Foundation to work with schools, community groups and colleges across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to help ensure they have the resources needed to teach at the highest level.

This philanthropic funding by the Community Foundation will go a long way towards helping the new Science and Technology Centre achieve its goals of turning out more young people with skills in STEM subjects. Currently, the STEM worker shortfall is estimated to be at 40,000 each year— a figure that threatens national prosperity. There is a society-wide imperative to work together. By forging strong connections between business and education, it will help to drive a strong, growing economy and an engaged generation of brilliant young talent.

Photo Credit:Northumberland College