Stoke on Trent College has secured a £1million capital grant from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), to invest in new facilities for the creative and cultural industries at its Cauldon campus.
In addition, a further £200,000 in funding has been provided by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership towards virtual reality learning suites that can transport learners to a host of workplaces and learning environments through the power of augmented reality.
The investment will see creative industries and performing arts students from the Burslem campus move to a new, state-of-the-art facility at the Cauldon campus. The facilities will provide all the latest technology, resources, software and equipment for a range of courses including graphic design, games design and development, film, TV, media, radio, theatrical make-up, performing arts, ceramics, product design and music.
Once the new facilities are completed in September 2019, the current creative and performing arts centre at the college’s Burslem campus (known as J Block) will close.
Denise Brown, Principal and CEO at Stoke on Trent College, comments:
“This is a significant government investment into education and creative industries within the city and we are very proud to have secured this funding as a result of a strong business plan, putting employment opportunities in key growth areas at the heart of our curriculum.
By locating these new facilities at Cauldon, we will bring all our creative students onto one single learning community in the university quarter, closer to employers in the cultural quarter and creative industries.”
Denise explains: “We have undertaken an extensive review of the college estate, student numbers and our curriculum, working closely with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP to create a skilled workforce to fill predicted vacancies that are key to the area’s economy.
Last year a report from the Creative Industries Federation and NESTA predicted that national growth in creative industries employment is set to be more than double the UK’s average rate of job creation. More than 119,495 new creative jobs are now predicted in the UK by 2024.”
She concludes: “We are focused on ensuring that our estates facilities and resources are targeted where they will have most impact on our students’ learning and employment prospects.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “We are delighted to support Stoke on Trent College in this exciting new initiative to equip their students for the rapidly changing workplaces of the 21stcentury.
“The digital and creative industries are playing an increasingly important role in the economy and we want to see our local young people take full advantage of the new, highly skilled job opportunities that are opening up. This will help position our region at the cutting edge in developing these new technologies.”
Whilst rehearsal spaces, studio and recording spaces will all be part of the creative hub facilities at Cauldon, the College will make use of real live theatre environments already available in the local area, in order to give students the most up-to-date performance experience in the theatre industry.