WECA helps fund digital skills training initiative in Bath

By Ben Carey on 15 July, 2020

Plans for a new digital skills training centre in Bath have been given a £300,000 boost from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

I-START is designed to help people gain new skills and re-train for roles in the creative and digital sectors and is a collaboration between the Bath College, the University of Bath, Bath Spa University, Bath & North East Somerset Council and WECA.

It aims to provide a flexible approach to learning, making it easily accessible to everyone and allowing people from all backgrounds the opportunity to gain new skills. It is hoped the scheme will enable people to achieve high quality jobs in the creative and digital sectors.

The plan is to create an innovation centre on Bath College’s City Centre campus. As well as training, the innovation centre will also work with businesses, helping them develop new ideas.

The West of England Combined Authority approved the outline business case and has agreed to invest £300,000 to develop and design the project further. This will include a review of the plans in light of Covid-19.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said, “I am keen to ensure that all our residents, whatever their background or challenges, can realise their potential by gaining the digital skills our region needs in the future.

“This focus on future digital skills is now more important than ever as we look at our region’s economic renewal, coming out of Covid-19. By offering people more training opportunities that will help them to develop the right skills that our region’s businesses need, we can give them the best possible chances to re-train and up-skill in their chosen careers.”

Councillor Tim Ball, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet member for Housing, Planning and Economic Development, added, “Now we are in the recovery phase of Covid-19, giving people the right skills to meet the demands of the future will be key to the economic recovery of Bath and North East Somerset as a whole. I’m pleased that the I-START project will take an inclusive approach to opening up further and higher education to more people in our region.”

I-START’s learning space would be co-located with innovative start-up businesses, SMEs (via the SETsquared University of Bath Innovation Centre), the Institute of Coding and the Research & Knowledge Exchange, encouraging collaboration between partners, students and businesses.