Work on £9m ‘digital factory’ for hi-tech education nears completion

R G Carter staff with Corrienne Peasgood outside new Digi-Tech Factory.

(L-R) R G Carter staff Richard Reeve, Mario Rackham, Ollie Fairweather, Alex Mackay, Jon Dicks, Ed Carr and Paul Cushing with Corrienne Peasgood, principal at City College Norwich, outside new Digi-Tech Factory. - Credit: City College Norwich

A groundbreaking new £9m digital technology centre aimed at boosting hi-tech skills and jobs in Norfolk is nearing completion. 

The distinctive white exterior of the major project at City College Norwich is almost complete with work now underway to fit out the building ahead of the first students logging-on to start their tech studies from September. 

Situated on Ipswich Road, the Digi-Tech Factory will bring together the college’s digital skills provision into a single, purpose-built building with industry-standard capabilities, allowing the college to significantly increase the number of students and apprentices gaining digital qualifications.

College principal Corrienne Peasgood said: “It has been brilliant watching the Digi-Tech Factory take shape over recent months. 

“The smooth progress of the build, and the extensive work that has gone into future-proofing the building, is a huge testament to everyone involved. 

Impression on how the interior of The Digi-Tech Factory will look at City College Norwich. Picture:

Artist's impression of how the interior of The Digi-Tech Factory will look at City College Norwich. - Credit: Coffey Architects

“We are really excited about the difference the Digi-Tech Factory is going to make for digital skills training in the region, with our first students set to benefit from this September.”

The centre will be home to a wide range of full and part-time courses, including apprenticeship learning, creative media, software and programming, electronics, and automated manufacturing. 

Richard Reeve, project manager, handles some of the 60 miles of cable being installed in the Digi-Tech Factory

Richard Reeve, project manager, handles some of the 60 miles of cable being installed in the Digi-Tech Factory. - Credit: City College Norwich

To facilitate and future-proof the data requirements for such a hi-tech facility, an extensive and complex cabling system is needed.  

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Construction firm R G Carter is working with Norwich Electrical to fit 62 miles of data, fire and electrical cabling into the building - the distance between Norwich and Cambridge.

Some 40 miles is for data alone, a significant length of cabling for a building of this size.

Artist's impression of a workshop in the new Digi-Tech Factory at City College Norwich. The project

Artist's impression of a workshop in the new Digi-Tech Factory at City College Norwich. - Credit: Coffey Architects

The building's exterior features bespoke perforated patterns on the panels designed to replicate historic computer tape, digital code and binary sequences and have been designed specifically for the college by Coffey Architects.

Overseeing the project is Mario Rackham, director and general manager at R G Carter, who studied at City College Norwich, while a further six employees working on the project also attended the college over the last three decades.

Ed Carr on the site of the new Digi Tech Factory building. 

Ed Carr one of the former City College Norwich students working on the new Digi Tech Factory building. - Credit: City College Norwich

Mr Rackham said: “It’s been a pleasure for us all to return and work where our interests and passion in construction began. 

“It has changed since we were students for some of us, but it has been rewarding to work as a team and share memories of our time here.”
 

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