We are excited to announce the launch of the new risual Microsoft Academy at New College Swindon.

The academy was launched on 11 May, and officially opened by Graham Taylor, Principal of NCS, Paddy Bradley, Director of the SWLEP, Microsoft Account Director Bhavin Bhagalia and the Director and Co-Founder of risual, Richard Proud. The UK faces a growing shortage of digital skills and the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has identified growing digital capability as one of its five key strategic objectives. The launch saw significant support from regional employers passionate about achieving this objective and discussing how the academy can support them in their digital empowerment plans.

New College Swindon have partnered with industry experts risual to provide this facility to meet the regional demand for digital skills. risual hold Gold standard Microsoft competencies in nine areas including Cloud Productivity, Communications and Messaging with a further three Silver competencies. They have always been known as experts in technology, which is why it’s so exciting for New College Swindon to partner with them for the delivery of industry specific digital apprenticeships.

This initiative will provide:

• A new innovative Academy in partnership with risual Education
• Specialist IT suite and equipment
• Digital learning, IT training and qualifications
• A range of IT Apprenticeships

This innovative academy will help to support the digital needs of individuals, employers and communities within the Swindon and Wiltshire area. The Microsoft Academy has a new IT suite and equipment, where students will study courses and Apprenticeships from the latest in cyber security to cloud infrastructure technicians.

The new suite of exciting IT, software and web Apprenticeships is also available to the wider business community to train their next generation of IT professionals. The apprenticeships will be flexibly designed to meet employer needs and linked to industry recognised vendor qualifications (Microsoft MOS, MTA, MCP). As part of the partnership an Azure focused apprenticeship will be offered, to support companies like risual to become proficient in cloud technology. The apprenticeship is industry relevant, and with industry expert assessors it will support learners to empower companies with cloud skills.

In addition to this the academy will provide training to both teachers and students, creating Microsoft Certified Educators to provide outstanding use of technology in teaching across all subject areas.

Richard Proud, Co-Founder and Director of risual Ltd says:

“We are so pleased to have partnered with New College Swindon for our 10th risual Academy launch. It is great to be working in a region that has such passion to bring together all sectors to drive digital skills and literacy, supported by Paddy Bradley from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. There is great potential and opportunity here to invest in young people and adults to help them develop industry relevant skills and certification, improving their opportunity to build amazing careers and achieve amazing things.”

Graham Taylor, Principal of New College says:

“New College is aiming to be a centre of excellence in IT. Digital skills are ‘cross-cutting’ and permeate all jobs in a modern economy.

Our Academy will operate in partnership with Microsoft and risual Education Ltd, a Microsoft gold partner. It will be unique within the region.

The key aims of the Academy are to: boost IT skills, increase the number of IT learners and improve the quality and relevance of IT training. This will involve working closely with businesses and Universities in the Digital Technology sector and building on the raft of IT qualifications, including Apprenticeships that we already run.”

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