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Truro and Penwith College: Bridging the skills gap

Date: 20 Sep
As the new term starts, we look forward to a new academic year and some exciting developments within the Maths, Computing, and IT Department at Truro and Penwith College.

The CIoS Digital Skills Assessment (2022) report confirmed that there is a shortage of software engineers, developers, and programmers within Cornwall, as well as in other digital industries such as Agri-tech, Space-tech, and Cyber Security, creating a skills gap which is likely to continue to widen in the coming years.

To help bridge these skills gaps within the tech sector in Cornwall, the Maths, Computing and IT department at Truro & Penwith College has restructured to allow learners greater access to programs of study in Cornwall including Bootcamps for those looking to retrain, industry qualifications for those looking to upskill, as well as a full provision of computing, digital and IT courses from levels 2 to 6 (School leaver to BSc Level).

This will enable graduates to progress into employment in the areas where employers (and the Digital Skills assessment) have identified skills shortages. The department are collaborating with employers and industry specialists to develop new curricula, offer new courses, including vendor qualifications such as Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA qualifications, as well as a new FdSc in Software Engineering (September 2023) which offers students the opportunity to study in Cornwall on an exciting and innovative course and where the curriculum content is driven and developed in collaboration with leading digital employers in Cornwall. This will ensure that graduates are ready for work in the industries experiencing these skills gaps.

We are also collaborating with leading employers to facilitate valuable enrichment and work experience for leaners across all programmes of study. This includes industry placements within the NHS for our T level Digital production, Design and Development (Software Development) learners, and Software Cornwall’s ‘Mission to Mars’ work experience across our Digital course offerings. This academic year we have also hosted many guest speakers and workshops such as GCHQ’s Intrusion Detection workshop which took place in the Spring term.

Students have also had the opportunity to work on real-work projects with clients such as Spaceport Cornwall; learners on our T level and Degree program have been working on a project in Collaboration with Falmouth University and Immersive business where they have developed a VR experience, providing users the opportunity to walkthrough the Spaceport Cornwall Site, Goonhilly’s Earth Station and to view a satellite from Space; this experience was launched at the Goonhilly 60th Birthday Celebration on the 23rd July and will be released for public download in Autumn.

To help facilitate the new curriculum delivery, there has been a significant investment of capital in infrastructure such as the new SWIoT (South West Institute of Technology) building at the Truro Campus, and the Ottery STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) building, as well as investment in new CISCO labs to support networking provision across all levels, as well as the delivery of CISCO CCNA qualifications at our Truro Campus.

Cornwall has an already established but still growing tech sector, and Truro College is leading the way in providing outstanding education, directly aligned with careers in digital.

If you are interested in learning more, or getting involved, please contact Naomi Johns, Truro and Penwith College ([email protected]).