How Barnsley College are developing the skills force of the future


Provided by
Yiannis Koursis
Principal and Chief Executive, Barnsley College
Wednesday 08 December 2021 18:30 GMT
Business Reporter: How Barnsley College are developing the skills force of the future

Barnsley College is a Business Reporter client

Barnsley College is an anchor institution in the heart of South Yorkshire. We are an outstanding college, widely regarded as one of the best in the country.

We are dedicated to transforming lives. This value is at the very core of everything we do; for our students, for our colleagues, for our communities.

We are stepping up to help address the digital skills gap that exists in the economy, and have developed an extensive network of businesses we work with directly on our curriculum; ensuring what our students learn is what businesses need and focuses on developing their work-place skills.

Working closely with employers, communicating well with stakeholders and meeting the needs of our local community will ensure that we remain at the centre of training and education in Barnsley and beyond.

Our new SciTech Digital Innovation Hub, supported by The Department of Education and The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) officially opened in October 2021.

The development is the product of a significant investment in the improvement of our facilities and digital curriculum in line with Barnsley’s ‘TechTown Five Year Action Plan.’ This aims to create ‘More and Better Jobs’ and businesses by promoting the acquisition of digital skills, promoting digital entrepreneurship and using digital technology to transform existing businesses. These are all actions towards addressing the digital skills gap which threatens to cost the UK economy over £100billion in GDP growth.

Facilities within the SciTech Digital Innovation Hub will have a special focus on digital industries including cyber security, network technologies, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality alongside software and programming. Industry-standard, high-spec technology available to students includes powerful PCs, network laboratories, software development studios, immersive rooms, cloud facilities, Microsoft and gaming studios plus smart, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.

The Hub provides facilities to enable us to deliver an exciting new digital curriculum in response to the digital skills gap. Our young people are the key to addressing this and upskilling the current workforce is also a vital consideration for employers. We continue to work hard to promote that agenda too through apprenticeships and other professional training courses.

Colleges must continue to rise to the challenge and offer solutions that drive the future economy, meet the nation’s skills gaps, and present an opportunity for real progression to learners.

Barnsley College has worked with hundreds of employers, addressing their skills need, adapting our curriculum to meet employment demand, and working with them to develop the workforce of the future. We are working with businesses to lead the economic recovery and meet employers’ needs, both now and for future roles, by providing students and adults with the skills to succeed.

The recent Skills for Jobs white paper from the Government will enable us to go even further, drawing on our unique knowledge and specialist expertise providing a huge boost to our local, regional and national economic needs.

We believe that every adult has the right to life-long education and training, ensuring they have the skills to succeed in the new and future economy. Adult learning drives the economy by ensuring that workers are more skilled, more productive, and happier.

Barnsley College is best placed to deliver the required education, training and opportunities for all learners. The government are looking to further support and enhance the sector to help us continue to deliver robust, in-demand training and qualifications, helping us to reignite the economy.

With the right level of backing, colleges can significantly expand their offer as a strategic support to employers across innovation and skills. This is critical as we work with employers to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, and crucial too as we urgently move to a green economy in response to the climate emergency.

Barnsley College is committed to being actively involved in the social and cultural development of our community, raising aspirations and driving social mobility. With the backing promised, we can go further with our plans and become a leader for societal and civic change, collaboration and positivity.

Our ongoing, ambitious programme of working with employers, co-developing our curriculum, and building impactful partnerships within the region and beyond, offers a real chance for us as a College, and as a sector, to play a huge part in the future economic recovery and success of the country.

Barnsley College is working to meet the digital skills gap and drive the future economy. For more information, please visit

Originally published on Business Reporter

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