North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has responded to predictions of a ‘catastrophic’ future digital skills shortage with news of an overhaul of the computing, IT, games design and media courses on offer at its Nuneaton Campus.

The response comes on the back of a report by the Learning & Work Institute commissioned by WorldSkills UK that has highlighted the gap between the demand for AI, cloud and robotics skills and the numbers of new students currently engaging with IT and computer science studies.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “We are acutely aware of the need to address skills shortages and have been working with a number of businesses to identify accessible routes into careers that will meet the growing needs of industry in the years ahead. This latest report serves to reinforce our ambition to stimulate interest in IT careers and demonstrate how computing skills can open the door to a wide range of exciting job roles.

“We have enhanced our range of programmes to include the latest modules across a range of exciting areas. Students can now explore digital and emerging technologies including VR, 3D animation and modelling for games design, multi-media design and website development, and computing skills such network design and data security. Courses are offered at Level 2 and above with the prospect of route into higher education.

“Our message to potential students is very clear. Skills in these areas can offer lucrative career paths and appealing job prospects. If they want to become indispensable in the job market, digital skills have never been in higher demand.”

The report, published this week, states that while 60 per cent of employers expect their reliance on digital skills to increase and eight out of ten young people know that they will need IT skills for work, there has been a consistent decline in numbers choosing IT subjects over the last six years.

Marion added, “We are keen to address this trend by highlighting the exciting opportunities that digital skills can bring with skilled individuals going on to develop 3D video games, or mobile apps, design robots or work on projects that bring the Internet of Things to life from self-driving cars to smart homes.”

The college also offers access to digital skills training through its Digital Skills Academy including beginners bootcamps which are open to anyone who wants to test their skills and try out for a place on an apprenticeship in software development. A range of courses and apprenticeships are available both online and via the Academy’s base at the Coventry University Technology Park. Digital Skills Academy training courses are delivered free of charge to individuals living within West Midlands Combined Authority postcode areas.