£7.5 million funding for South Yorkshire skills programme

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



(2004), "£7.5 million funding for South Yorkshire skills programme", Education + Training, Vol. 46 No. 6/7. https://doi.org/10.1108/et.2004.00446fab.003



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

£7.5 million funding for South Yorkshire skills programme

£7.5 million funding for South Yorkshire skills programme

A new skills programme is set to transform the number of industry-ready recruits for jobs in South Yorkshire's creative and digital industries. The programme, co-ordinated by the LSC, is part of the European Union's Objective 1 programme in South Yorkshire and is being supported by more than £7 million over the next 14 months from the European Social Fund and Yorkshire Forward.

The money is enabling four new centres for digital skills to be launched. The Barnsley Centre for Digital Specialism will focus on e-commerce, e-marketing, Web services and media technologies. The Doncaster Digital Knowledge Exchange will specialise in creative digital media, including technical skills for games, music, animation, film and virtual-reality production. The Rotherham Centre of Excellence for New Technologies (CENT), based at Magna, will specialise in fixed and wireless networks, mobile and broadband technologies and digital-media management. And Interface, the Sheffield College initiative, will focus on creative and digital skills in television, photography, journalism and e-learning.

The programme, branded e-SY skills, is focusing on new ways of integrating industry training into the mainstream curriculum, developing skills for the workplace and highlighting the opportunities for careers in the creative and digital industries. Thomas Rotherham College is the prime contractor, working with lead providers Barnsley and Doncaster colleges, RCAT and the Sheffield College. The four lead providers are working with Sheffield Hallam University on curriculum development for schools and foundation degrees and to train up trainers for industry qualifications.

The centres will deliver industry training and qualifications from some of the biggest global suppliers, including Apple, EA Games, Granada Media, Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Microsoft, Siemens and Sony. Partnerships with these industry leaders are already well established in some cases, helping to adapt commercial training to school, college and university requirements. The programme is also working with the national sector-skills councils – e-Skills UK for IT and Skillset for interactive media – in developing industry-leading delivery frameworks that relate curriculum to occupational standards for up-and- coming industries like games.

David Burrows, Microsoft UK's education director, said: “Microsoft has a strong partnership with South Yorkshire in developing a critical mass of both user and high-level skills for the digital economy. We are working with the LSC South Yorkshire and with Yorkshire Forward on the e-SY skills initiative to integrate Microsoft professional qualifications with vocational curriculum from age 14 through to foundation degrees.”

John Korzeniewski, executive director of LSC South Yorkshire, said: “This project is aimed at building capacity in South Yorkshire so we can meet the growth and evolving skill requirements of the expanding creative and digital industries. By facilitating industry-based partnerships, the LSC and Yorkshire Forward will make a vital contribution to the development of the region's high-growth clusters.”

Paul Pascoe, Yorkshire Forward's head of learning and skills for South Yorkshire, said: “The e-SY skills initiative represents a major part of Yorkshire Forward's investment in capacity building of the education and training infrastructure in South Yorkshire to meet industry requirements in the creative and digital sector. The potential impact of the programme lies in a combination of state-of-the-art equipment, substantial numbers of industry-qualified trainers, new curriculum development and tailored work placements for employers' needs, taking a strategic perspective across the sub-region as a whole.”

Frances Adams, who is managing Objective 1's £220 million investment in training and education, said: “Objective 1's aim is to transform South Yorkshire into a high-growth, knowledge- rich economy. Substantial investment is helping to create high-growth, technology-based industry clusters that can drive our economy forward in the future. This initiative will help to ensure that local people have the skills needed to grasp the employment opportunities being created in the creative and digital industries. It will also help to ensure that South Yorkshire has an increased pool of technical specialists who are needed to help to attract further creative and digital industries to locate here.”

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