Sarah Armstead, Training Development Lead Digital & IT, Lancaster & Morecambe College
My name is Sarah Armstead and I am the Training Development Lead in Digital & IT at Lancaster & Morecambe College. The creation, development and delivery of effective digital education is a massive focus for the college as the digital footprint of our area is growing at a rapid rate. To ensure we, as a centre for vocational excellence are providing the students with as many skills that they need to progress into the workplace, held our first Digital Industry Day on 23rd January 2019.
What better way to focus our digital planning for 2019 (over the first tasty meal of the event, breakfast pastries and coffee) than to host an event where key industry professionals talk to us, as educational experts, about the world of digital? Providing an insight into the key skills areas that the digital workforce will need in the near future.
We heard from:
Melissa Conlon, Commercial Director AMRC North West at AMRC
Steve Coates, Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Magma Digital Ltd
Mike Ward, Head of Digital Production at Fat Media Limited
Thelma Aye, Talent & HR Consultant at Nublue
Following these motivational and passionate talks, detailed and frank discussions ensued where both sides were able to highlight their expectations and barriers, currently being faced with students progressing from FE education into the workplace and their readiness or lack thereof, to transition seamlessly into an organisation. It was a chance for both employers and educators to be honest and open in their communications where positive and pro-active questions like “Ok, so how do we do that for you?” was heard frequently.
With representatives from the FE sector, local businesses and key supportive organisations including Lancashire County Council and Digital Lancashire, the discussions were fundamental to our understanding of how we can collectively bridge this digital skills gap in our area.
We completed the day with our networking lunch, the second tasty meal of the event! Designed and created by our catering students and served in our teaching restaurant, we had another chance to chat to each other about opportunities, contacts and further developments whilst eating more food than we knew what to do with.
The success of the event reached the newly appointed Digital Skills Co-Ordinator for Lancashire LEP, Kerry Harrison, who emailed to congratulate us on a brilliant day, saying “I have heard nothing but good things about the event last Wednesday at LMC! And that the food was brilliant!”
My mind was reeling with ideas of ways to develop our curriculum to enhance our students and our provision and I spent so much time chatting (not a shock) that I forgot to get a pudding from our lunch buffet, which is very unlike me! The event was brilliant and I am very proud to have hosted such a great event! We cannot wait to host more events at Lancaster & Morecambe College and future LMC Industry days are being planned to bring together employers and students to further develop the working relationships.