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‘Employer-driven’ centre opens to help businesses tackle digital skills shortage

A NEW resource for businesses in the city which are struggling with skills shortages has been launched at Milton Keynes College Group.  

The Chaffron Centre at the Chaffron Way campus is a new facility designed to help companies and educators work more closely together. The venue offers digital skills training and state-of-the-art artificial intelligence equipment for use by both learners and the business community. 

The development has been funded by a £3.5 million grant from the government and is one of the most advanced facilities in the region, with two floors incorporating meeting rooms, VR suites, individual classrooms, catering facilities and areas for refreshments and break-out meetings. 

Speaking at the opening event of the Chaffron Centre, Dr Julie Mills pictured, chief executive and group principal of Milton Keynes College Group, said: “We see the Chaffron Centre as an employer-driven facility to ensure that learners are being taught the digital skills that local businesses really need.”

Some of the UK’s newest AI technology will be available for learners and businesses to try out, including Tesla suits and Stratus Systems’ VR solution- a breakthrough in computer aided design. There is also a Cobotta programmable industrial robot as well as advanced workstations and teaching aids.

The Chaffron Centre offers space for companies to use to meet and work with the added benefit of plentiful free parking just a stone’s throw from the city centre and the railway station.  A range of courses will be available through SkillsHub:MK, designed to fill the skills gaps that have been identified locally through consultation with employers.  Subjects covered will include leadership and management, digital sales and marketing and digital and data strategy.  

The centre will be operated in partnership with the South Central Institute for Technology, Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership and Milton Keynes Council, along with the city-wide artificial intelligence group, MKAI, the Biztech technology forum, the Open University and Cranfield University/MK:U.

Dr Mills said: “Being asked to pilot something that could become a truly significant national scheme shows the government’s confidence in the Milton Keynes College Group and we are very excited to take this forward and help to bring the worlds of business and further education together in innovative yet pragmatic and business-focused ways.”

Find out more about the Chaffron Centre at ChaffronCentre.co.uk

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