Public, private and voluntary sector professionals in the County Durham and the Tees Valley are now able to sign up to free digital skills training – both technical and creative – following some quick thinking by Teesside University as part of its comprehensive response to Covid-19.
The Digital Skills for Growth programme was due to run as physical events but is now being offered as a series of online accredited courses scheduled for April 20 to June 24.
The eight courses span a combination of half-day and full-day sessions meaning that public, private and voluntary sector workers from any industry or any size, including those on furlough, can immediately sharpen up their professional development in areas such as art for games and film, coding, data visualisation, developing personalised business intelligence solutions with Microsoft POWER BI, digital marketing, making sense of digital business, and web production.
The programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund and delivered by the University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies.
University colleagues at DigitalCity, funded from the European Regional Development Fund across Tees Valley, will also provide a mentoring service to Tees Valley learners and SMEs to help their employers gain maximum benefits for their upskilling.
“Given the unprecedented situation we have adapted our project for the immediate short-term and changed the way we are going to be delivering some of our accredited courses so that everything is online,” explained Siobhan Fenton, the school’s associate dean for enterprise and business engagement.
“Whilst we understand that minds are focused on the immediate challenges, given the positive feedback we had originally from organisations about our training we wanted to offer people the opportunity to continue to access the courses in a safe environment.
“It presents a fantastic opportunity for public, private and voluntary sector employees to future-proof their digital skills at this time. Importantly there is no charge for the courses.
“The world in which we work, live and play is clearly changing and we need to keep up with technology in all aspects of our lives.
“Digital technology, particularly artificial intelligence and data analytics, has introduced revolutionary changes in every sector to enhance efficiency, increase productivity and reduce costs.
“Arguably this is going to be even more important for business once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.”
For primary and secondary school teachers – and non-teaching staff in schools signing up to the Digital Skills for Growth programme – they will also get a six-week lesson plan to take back to school and deliver to pupils.
“Whilst again we understand that teachers are extremely focused at this time, the bespoke training will help to address the digital skills gaps and teacher training needs in the region that were identified by schools and we wanted to deliver against our original promise to help them,” Siobhan said.
DigitalCity director Lynsey Robinson added: “With our extensive network of digital expertise, DigitalCity is able to provide a mentoring service that will help businesses come out of this crisis stronger than ever.
“We want to support as many local businesses in the Tees Valley as we possibly can during these challenging times.”
Anyone who completes the short accredited courses will receive a University Certificate in Professional Development in Digital Skills Qualification.
For more information please email digitalskillsforgro[email protected] or call 01642 738701/07917 473992.