Cirencester College breaks ground on new £4.48m digital skills centre

Photo shows: Another lot in hard hats & hi viz jackets. It could be anywhere but the pic was taken at Cirencester College
Cirencester college digital skills centre

Cirencester College recently marked the official start of construction of their landmark £4.48 million Digital Building called the ‘Gloucestershire Applied Digital Skills Centre’.

Principal Jim Grant was joined by David Owen, CEO of Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst LEP to ‘cut the first sod’ for the new building, set to be completed in early 2022. The building will house the latest cutting-edge technology and resources needed for the Cyber and Digital Sectors, creating opportunities for students to gain the skills and meet the growth in these hugely important industries.

Jim Grant said: “We were delighted that David Owen, was able to come and break ground with us on such an exciting project for the College, our students and our communities. This building will transform the digital education the College can provide including several of the new T-levels. Facilities in the building will enable students and employers to work together on a wide range of projects and provide opportunities to develop adult education. We look forward to its completion next February and being able to welcome employers, students and members of the community to the events we will host there in 2022.”

Oli Christie is CEO at Cirencester-based mobile games developer Neon Play. He said: “It’s fantastic that there is a digital and skills cyber hub opening in Cirencester. It’s incredibly important that the next generation is trained in digital skills because that’s the sector where many of them will find employment. It will also help us find talented young developers who will help us take more of our mobile games global.”

The £4.48 million is part of a total of £11.3 million successful bid for by GFirst LEP and has been split between five different projects within the county. The grant came from central Government’s wider ‘Getting Building Fund’ programme, which overall will be granting £900 million to various organisations across the country.

Four students who will undoubtedly benefit from the new facilities joined the socially distanced celebration.  Joel Snowdon and Harvey Smith from the Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction T-level course have, along with the rest of their group, already had unprecedented access to the project from the design phase with architects Roberts Limbrick to future work experience with the builders EG Carters. Funke Dehinbo and Zoe Lomas from the College’s Computer Science course are also excited about how the new facilities will support their studies and shape their future.

David Owen, CEO of GFirst said: “This is a really exciting project for the Cotswold District and indeed the whole of Gloucestershire. The Cyber and Digital Sectors are moving forward at pace and even as we are coming to the end of lockdown, more employees will look to continue to work from home and adopt blended working patterns, making these sectors even more important for our economy. We need the next generation of students to be right at the forefront of digital education and this project will enable that to happen.”

The contract to build the new centre was awarded to E G Carter of Gloucester, Thomas Jones, Associate Director at E G Carter & Co Ltd said: “We are delighted to have commenced the work at Cirencester College, the three storey Digital Building designed by Roberts Limbrick will provide a central atrium and flexible spaces with the ability to offer a variety of teaching and learning environments for the College students. Over the next few months we will be working together with the College to provide valuable work experience which again, will help their construction students on their chosen career paths. We are looking forward to what will be a great partnership.”