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Photo- left to right: Ruth Dooley (GFirst LEP), Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown (Cotswolds MP), Jane Fern, Sara Sharkey, David Owen (GFirst LEP), Jim Grant

Cirencester College Opens £4.48m Gloucestershire Digital Skills Centre

On Friday 27 May, Cirencester College officially opened the doors to the Gloucestershire Digital Skills Centre.  The £4.48m new development is set to transform digital education at the College with the most modern techniques and technology.

The project was funded through the Government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ programme through GFirst LEP and was part of a total of £11.3 million bid split between five different projects within the county.

The building was officially opened by Brigadier (Retired) Sara Sharkey CBE, BSc, MSc, CEng, MIET, who served for 30 years in the British Army, before joining Deloitte as a Director in the Digital Defence practice in 2021.  A lifelong technologist, she led the UK Ministry of Defence’s transformation to adopt Public Cloud, DevSecOps and agile mindsets transforming teams, in Army Digital Services and Defence Digital, to create purposeful value orientated teams who were able to deliver products faster, safer and secured for enterprise level use.  She is a champion for diversity in STEM as an Ambassador for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) in her daily role in technology mentoring and encouraging allyship.

College Principal Jim Grant was joined by local dignitaries to mark the opening of the building, that will house the latest cutting-edge technology and resources needed to support the Cyber and Digital Sectors; creating opportunities for students to gain hugely important industry specific skills.

Jim said, “We are extremely proud of this new facility, this is a really important building for us as a College. It is part of the challenge to reintroduce digital skills post 16 after many drop IT related studies in schools. Today, digital skills are a major part of all of our lives, at home and in work, and it is our plan to develop these skills in all of our learners not just those who study IT related courses.

David Owen CEO of GFirst said “We at GFirst LEP are really pleased to have funded and now see the opening of the Digital Skills Centre at Cirencester College.  We know that digital and cyber will be key drivers in our Gloucestershire economy and this centre is a brilliant opportunity to help train the next talent pool we need to grow this sector.  Cirencester College have been fantastic delivery partners and created an inspiring facility.”

Sam Carter, Managing Director at E G Carter & Co Ltd said ‘We were thrilled to be appointed on the Cirencester College Digital Building project and since our appointment have thoroughly enjoyed working with the project team to deliver the scheme. It has been a brilliant project to be involved with and the collaborative approach taken by all has ensured the best possible building has been constructed for the College. The building looks fantastic, and we hope this new facility will add a new dynamic to the College.

John Mooney, a senior Architect at Roberts Limbrick said “We are excited to see the Digital Skills Centre open, a major asset for the county. It’s a brilliant resource for students, providing them with cutting-edge digital technology in a flexible, collaborative environment. Gloucestershire is the cyber capital of the UK and these skills are more valuable than ever.

We are immensely proud to continue to work alongside the teaching team at Cirencester College on the new T Level building, and will continue to involve the students with on-site visits and talks during the it’s construction stage.”

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