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Higher Tech Training

Jo Baxter and Georgina Ager outside of a computer science lab.

A grant won by The Bedford College Group will bring access to Higher Technical Qualification (HTQ) training to the Kettering and Corby campuses of Tresham College.

Bedford College has a long standing reputation for being World Class in the field of further and higher educational digital training, now a grant of £256,339 will mean that expertise will be shared across Northamptonshire from September 2022.

This funding will help develop three specialist computer laboratories for Levels 4 (HNC) + Level 5 (HND) + Level 6 (Top-Up degree) students at Kettering, Corby and Bedford. At Bedford, degree-level pathways already exist in Networking and Security and Applications Development.

The HTQ grant will enable the investment into facilities across Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire in line with industry standards and give students the opportunity to study for higher level qualifications across the North Northamptonshire campuses.

Said Jo Baxter Director of Science and Digital Technology:

“We particularly want to enhance the facilities at our Northamptonshire campuses which have been identified by SEMLEP and North Northamptonshire Council, as an area of low social mobility, and also an area where employers have recognised gaps in higher digital skills.

“These facilities would provide students with the most up to date industry standard equipment. This would develop capacity so that we can welcome up to 60 new students per annum on Higher Technical Qualifications.

“We would like to focus on supporting and upskilling our staff so that we can deliver the growth in HTQs. This would involve Funding Masters Degrees and Curriculum development to develop a blended HTQ offer.”

The £250,000 grant is one made to 100 Further and Higher Education providers who have been awarded a share of £18 million to invest in new equipment.

Vice Principal of The Bedford College Group Georgina Ager said:

“In order to prepare for delivery of Higher Technical Qualifications we are investing in staff training and up-skilling. We have undertaken workforce planning exercises to model staffing skills gaps we may face in the future. Where gaps exist, we are investing in staff to up-skill and retrain to ensure our staff have the most up to date industry and academic knowledge to deliver the Higher Technical Qualifications.

“In addition, we are ensuring that our facilities are in line with industry standards so our students and our employer partners can access and train on equipment relevant to them.”

Boosting the uptake and quality of Higher Technical Qualifications – that sit between A levels and degrees – and supporting adults to study more flexibly throughout their lives is a key part of the government’s landmark reforms to post-16 education and training.

A major review of higher technical education revealed these qualifications can unlock the skills employers need, and lead to well paid jobs.

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