The future is digital at new college academy in Daventry

A new Digital Academy is set to launch in Daventry, offering students key skills in a range of IT, multi-media and digital sectors.

The academy was announced today (Thursday) and will form part of Northampton College’s new campus in Daventry and will teach students software and coding, web development, games design and social media.

The Digital Academy will welcome its first students as part of the launch of Northampton College’s state of the art Daventry Campus this autumn.

The Digital Academy will form a key part of the campus’s technical and professional curriculum providing students with cutting edge facilities and training from digital experts and local employers from the creative and digital sector.

An artist's impression of the new college building

Students signing up to a Digital Academy course will also benefit from work placements within digital companies to help them gain the skills and qualifications needed to secure jobs in this fast moving sector.

Principal Pat Brennan-Barrett said: “Our new curriculum, with a focus on preparing students for the world of work, will help prepare students for the fast-paced world of the creative media and digital sectors.

“We have designed the Digital Academy with the young people of Daventry in mind and are delighted to be able to offer them a fresh opportunity in brand new, state-of-the-art facilities.

“Our ambition is to make sure that Daventry Campus students are well equipped to win the best jobs after they have successfully achieved their qualifications”.

An artist's impression of the new college building

The range of courses on offer as part of the Digital Academy will include skills for careers in multi-media design, website development, programming and coding, games design and product development, video, film and photography, digital art and animation, and TV and radio advertising.

Plans for the new curriculum have been endorsed by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) which leads an industry group for the creative and cultural sector that includes over 700 companies in the county.

The sector contributes £97 million to the local economy. NEP is working to support small and growing arts-based and creative businesses to increase income, recruit new apprentices, open up new markets and improve productivity.

NEP’s chief executive, Jo Lappin said: “Northampton College’s decision to develop a new Digital Academy at Daventry is excellent news for Northamptonshire’s businesses and students.

“We are aware that there is significant demand for digital skills in the workplace, particularly in programming and coding, and the academy will be really important in helping to respond to this local business need.

“The demand for these skills both nationally and locally is very high, so students from the Digital Academy will have really good employment opportunities once they have finished their learning”.

She added: “Digital businesses have high levels of productivity and make a strong contribution to the economy, so developing a skilled workforce will help Northamptonshire to attract more of this type of business, which in turn will drive up overall economic performance.

“Northamptonshire is highly entrepreneurial, with business start-up rates exceeding national levels, and I therefore hope that the Digital Academy will help create the next generation of digital entrepreneurs.”

The new, multi-million pound Badby Road West campus continues to take shape as building work progresses on site.

In addition to the Digital Academy, facilities will include industry-standard workshops for motor vehicle engineering, state-of-the-art library facilities, contemporary hairdressing and beauty therapy salons, ICT and Mac suites, teaching space for healthcare and childcare plus dedicated provision for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The curriculum includes a range of study programmes that consist of technical and professional qualifications plus maths and English and employability skills.

Northampton College was awarded a £6.5 million Local Growth Fund by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) to fund this purpose built campus.