Dynamites and Newcastle College University Centre

Guest blog post by Jon Ridley, Newcastle College University Centre’s Vice-Principal and Executive Director of Higher Education at NCG

When I was asked to join the judging panel ahead of the Dynamites 20 awards I didn’t need to think twice. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to connect with like-minded peers, but it is a great reflection of Newcastle College University Centre’s strong position in a sector that continues to pivot in the face of a global pandemic.

The standard of entries is incredibly high and it’s clear to see that the North East is well placed to meet the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be at the centre of a region that continues to set the standard for IT, technology and digital innovation.

The University Centre’s support for Dynamites 20 is just a small part of our ongoing commitment to developing digital talent for the region and inspiring digital talent of the future. It is something I care about passionately and it sits front and centre of both the University Centre’s and NCG’s national plans looking forward.

I’ve always believed that Newcastle College University Centre offers an attractive alternative to university for students – combining a higher level of study in a college environment. Now, more than ever, I know that to be true.

The College’s reputation as a higher technical skills provider means that we can offer professional work-based study opportunities, industry-linked activities and intensive teaching environments. And that focus on practical learning, combined with fantastic teaching, provides a unique level of support for students.

We’re constantly reassessing the content and structure of our courses – courses to make sure they equip our students with the relevant skillset and upskill those seeking to adapt to a fast-changing economic landscape. Our investment into our STEM offering ensures students across the University Centre leave ready to thrive and take every opportunity in an ever-increasing digital world.

Over at our award-winning Energy Academy, dedicated to offshore wind and renewable energies, our students train to be future wind turbine technicians using one of the world’s most advanced Immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) offshore wind training facilities Those state-of-the-art facilities, along with industry collaboration, offer unrivalled opportunities for students in the region, and shows just how perfectly placed we are to respond to the government’s ‘Build Back Greener’ plan.

Last year, we launched our unique Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship – an accelerated programme to help people become fully qualified in just two years, rather than the traditional three.

And earlier this year, we introduced our innovative Foundation Degree in Engineering with Applied Digital Technologies. The course is tailor-made to meet the demands of a sector in transition – thanks to the contribution of Procter and Gamble and the expertise of local engineering specialists Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) and Metrology Software Products (MSP).

The University Centre worked alongside those businesses and our own Digital Advisory Board to fine-tune a degree that supports the region’s Local Industrial Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing.

These are just three fantastic examples of what we bring to the table and evidences the quality and focus of the programmes we’re building to train and inspire talent and upskill a workforce striving to meet the unique demands of the current economic climate.

As a judge on the Dynamites 20 awards panel I can tell you we’re not alone. Right across the North East ambitious and like-minded educators, employers and innovators are working together to put our region at the forefront of the digital revolution. And that is truly exciting.

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