By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz July 7, 2014 at 10:00AM
Oldham College is leading the way on national digital developments with involvement at two prestigious events in London recently - one at the House of Commons with the Skills Minister - and the TeenTech Awards with celebrities including Stephen Fry and James May.
Both unique opportunities reflect Oldham College’s expertise in digital and creative industries, which will be showcased later this year with the opening of the UK’s first ever Digital Career College.
On Tuesday 24 June, Oldham College Principal Alun Francis was invited to the House of Commons for a meeting hosted by Lord Baker in association with the Career Colleges Trust. Career Colleges were launched by Lord Baker last year as a new innovation in employer-led education, combining academic and vocational studies within a specific industry specialism. Educational and industry leaders discussed the future of vocational education with Luke Johnson, Chair of the Career Colleges Trust and Guest of Honour, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise. Employers were called upon to make pledges, setting out how they could potentially help a Career College and what they could add.
Alun was joined by members of the Employers Advisory Board created to work on the development of the Digital Career College - Lawrence Jones, the CEO of UK Fast, one of the city’s fastest growing technology companies and Gail Jones, their Commercial Director and Liane Grimshaw, a consultant with 20 years’ experience in the creative and digital industries who is currently setting up SupaReal, a new digital marketing agency.
Oldham College Principal Alun Francis said: “This important initiative is a new relationship between education advisors and employers so that we bring the best education expertise and they bring their knowledge of the working environment and the skills they need. We are very pleased at the quality of employer partners on board and feel that we are the platform to provide a different kind of career choice for young people in Oldham.”
On Wednesday 25 June, Oldham College I.T. student Holly King, who is part of a new Young Digital TaskForce* was Master of Ceremonies for the TeenTech Awards at The Royal Society. Initiated by Ed Miliband, the Young Digital TaskForce was recently set up to help shape the UK’s digital future. Maggie Philbin, broadcaster and TaskForce lead, who is keen for students to be involved in influencing national digital policy, said: “The views of young people are crucial to finding a solution to the technology and digital skills gap.” Maggie was so impressed by Holly’s input at the inaugural TaskForce meeting, that she personally invited her to MC the award ceremony.
The TeenTech Awards, which included a visit from their patron HRH Duke of York, involved students from across the UK showcasing their ideas for how to make life better simpler or easier. Their projects were judged by a range of well-known people within the science and technology communities. Holly enjoyed the privilege of introducing and sharing stage space with celebrities including Stephen Fry, James May, Maggie Philbin as well as various BBC presenters.
Oldham College’s pioneering facility, the new Digital Career College, will ensure students are both academically and practically prepared for work within technically and creatively driven industries. Alun Francis said: “We want to ensure that students learn what they need to progress whether that’s on to work, an Apprenticeship, or to university. Our curriculum is organised around different growth sectors of the economy and the pathways which students need to follow to work in these sectors.”
In his recent speech on Apprenticeships at the annual conference of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, Matthew Hancock talked about how young people should all go on either to university or into an Apprenticeship after leaving school or college. He said: “It’s a huge opportunity, for Britain to become that high skilled economy we all crave and Apprenticeships that are the envy of the world; and for millions of future Apprentices, to know that Apprenticeships will deliver, higher quality across the board, skills relevant to the future, and give everyone in our country the opportunity to reach their potential.”
Oldham College is passionate about providing employment, training and educational opportunities for its communities and aims to help every student reach their full potential. The College offers a learning environment with industry standard facilities and has close links with many local, regional and national employers. These relationships enrich and broaden the courses the College offers as well as preparing students for progression into employment and higher education. For more information please visit HERE
For more information about the Young Digital TaskForce, please visit the website at