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Work starts on £9m ‘factory’ for hi-tech education

PUBLISHED: 11:22 28 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:13 28 July 2020

Celebrating breaking ground on the new Digi-Tech Factory at City College Norwich. Picture: City College Norwich

Celebrating breaking ground on the new Digi-Tech Factory at City College Norwich. Picture: City College Norwich

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Construction work has started on a new £9m digital technology centre aimed at boosting hi-tech skills and jobs in Norfolk.

Impression on how The Digi-Tech Factory will look at City College Norwich. Picture: Coffey ArchitectsImpression on how The Digi-Tech Factory will look at City College Norwich. Picture: Coffey Architects

The milestone of groundwork starting on the major project at City College Norwich comes after years of planning

Situated on the Ipswich Road campus, the Digi-Tech Factory as it will be known, will bring together the college’s digital skills provision into a single, purpose-built building, allowing the college to significantly increase the number of students and apprentices studying digital courses.

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College principal Corrienne Peasgood OBE said: “The digital tech sector is set to become even more important in the years ahead and it is vital that we equip our students with the skills needed to take up career opportunities in this growth area.

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

“The Digi-Tech Factory will play a key role in enabling us to deliver innovative, industry-standard learning, and a digital skills curriculum developed with substantial input from employers.

“It is incredibly exciting to have reached this key milestone in turning our vision for digital skills training into reality.”

The new four-storey building featuring a striking saw-tooth roof design, is being built on what remains of the 1960s buildings of Southwell Lodge - the rest of the site was cleared in 2012 to make way for the college’s creative arts building.

James Carter from R G Carter and Corrienne Peasgood OBE, principal of City College Norwich, breaking ground for the new Digi-Tech Factory. Picture: City College NorwichJames Carter from R G Carter and Corrienne Peasgood OBE, principal of City College Norwich, breaking ground for the new Digi-Tech Factory. Picture: City College Norwich

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It is expected to be completed by next summer and will be home to a wide range of full and part-time courses.

Students will undertake apprenticeship learning, from creative media to software and programming, and ‘hard’ digital skills in areas such as networking, infrastructure development, electronics, and automated manufacturing.

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

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The project has been made possible thanks to a £6m investment from New Anglia LEP’s Capital Growth Funding.

City College Norwich - which is stumping up £3m of its own money for the project - hopes the centre will enable it to increase students on digital technology courses from around 100 to 470 and open up basic and advanced digital skills courses to adult learners.

A ground-breaking ceremony to mark the milestone of construction starting was held by officials and staff from City College Norwich and representatives from local construction firm RG Carter and Coffey Architects.

Mario Rackham, director and general manager from RG Carter said: “We look forward to delivering this project and providing students a space to develop the digital skills of the future.”


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