Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE)

Project overview

The Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) project focused on developing a pan-Lancashire understanding of digital skills training needs, addressing those needs and providing employers with a referral service helping them to access local digital skills training.

Through CODE we have extensively engaged with employers in order to fully understand the digital skills gaps in the workforce. That information has produced a Lancashire-wide Training Needs Analysis and the partner colleges have collaborated to design and deliver programmes to meet those needs. Employers have been signposted to local providers to help meet their digital skills needs.

An Introduction to the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) Project (video)

Delivery partnership

CODE was led by Runshaw College and and delivered through a partnership of colleges across Lancashire – Blackburn, Lancaster and Morecambe, Myerscough, Nelson and Colne Group and Preston, with Burnley College working in collaboration too.

To deliver CODE we also worked with our existing partners including the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, the LCC Boost employer support service and UCLan’s DigitME2 to ensure employers could access digital skills training, technical skills training and other business support services.

Project aims

The aims of CODE were to:

  • Deliver a cross-cutting pathfinder project in the Lancashire SDF programme, collaborating with partner colleges to discover employers’ digital skills needs, map these on a Lancashire-wide basis and act in concert with partners to develop provision and deliver digital skills training.
  • Develop a pan-Lancashire digital skills signposting resource to assist employers anywhere in the county to locate digital training provision.
  • Create a network of likeminded partner colleges who are predisposed to growing and strengthening links with employers. Runshaw College acted as the ‘hub’ and partner colleges as ‘spokes’.
  • Deliver increased employer engagement in curriculum planning and increase the number of colleges and providers actively working as a collaboration.
  • Undertake outreach with partner colleges to discover the digital training needs of Lancashire-based employers and learners across as many industry sectors as possible and to identify skills priorities and support responsive curriculum plan development, highlighting skills gaps, areas of duplication, programmes with low learner numbers and areas for greater specialisation.
  • Develop deep and strong relationships with employers to ‘drill down’ into training needs and act on this feedback to develop responsive curriculum to address knowledge gaps.
  • The collaboration to tailor or develop curriculum packages in close collaboration with employers who will be involved in their design and development in response to their industry needs and circumstances, ensuing training is industry-led and fits the relevant industrial environments.
  • To upskill staff and engage them with industry to gain detailed knowledge of their target employers, industries and required training delivery.
  • To develop a centralised directory and signposting resource aiming to connect employers with relevant training packages and support via Runshaw and its partner colleges.


As CODE is a pathfinding project, its initial stages will be about discovering what needs are ‘out there’ in the employer base. When that is better understood the project activity will broaden out as training packages aimed at meeting those needs are developed and mobilised. Accordingly, the very short-term aims of the CODE project are to ‘pump-prime’ the creation and preparation of a training signposting and delivery network which over time will grow and become ever more extensive across Lancashire.

In the short term we aim to engage with c.100 employers and to work with a number of those to help up-skill staff, inform curriculum development to create an initial tranche of 6-12 available training packages by spring 2022. Beyond that we anticipate substantial growth to c.500 employers engaged and a commensurate number of new training courses being delivered over the following 2-3 years.

“I am delighted that Runshaw College is leading the Centre of Digital Excellence for Lancashire.  The project will bring together colleges providing digital skills training and align their offer to better meet the needs of local employers.  This work is a key enabler for businesses and will result in improved economic prosperity for our region.”

Clare Russell, Principal & CEO, Runshaw College

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