University Academy 92 (UA92), Greater Manchester’s groundbreaking higher education institution, has opened its multi-million pound Digital Academy on the second floor of its Old Trafford campus.
Having received a £2m funding grant to develop the space from independent regulator, the Office for Students (OfS) earlier this year, UA92’s Digital Academy space will create an extra 380 places for students taking digitally-led courses, meeting increased demand for digital upskilling across the North West.
Facilities at UA92’s Digital Academy include a robotics lab, a fully immersive 360-degree Igloo learning space, AR capabilities in classrooms and digital media labs. It will be utilised by a range of students including those completing undergraduate computer science degrees, digital bootcamps and apprenticeships. Certified short courses such as DevOps, Cloud, Linux, data science, cyber security, AR, VR and AI will also be run at the academy.
Sara Prowse, CEO of UA92, said: “The launch of this incredible facility is a major step forward for UA92.
“With this opening, we can act as a catalyst for digitally upskilling young people and mature students across the North West region, raising aspirations and helping to plug the skills gap. We know that access to high quality and industry-led education within a digitally-enabled learning environment is proven to boost employability and open opportunities, and that’s why our launch here today is so important for our current and future students, as well as the wider region.
“The development of the Digital Academy has been a creative collaboration between our students, specialist technicians, academics and technology experts from across the globe, and we’re very proud to see it become a reality as we start to welcome even more learners through our doors.”
In addition to its own courses, the venue will also become a tech hub for the wider North West community, with UA92 planning to offer digital short courses and training bootcamps for Greater Manchester residents in the near future.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, spoke at the Digital Academy launch about the importance of nurturing digital skills. Visitors were also given exclusive tours and demonstrations of the new facilities.
UA92 was co-founded by Lancaster University and the Class of ‘92. Open since 2019, it aims to make higher education accessible to all, through its founding principles of accessibility, social mobility and inclusivity. It offers a portfolio of degree and higher education courses across business, sport, media and digital disciplines, preparing students for the world of work by offering industry-led courses.
Working in partnership with leading names including Microsoft, TalkTalk, KPMG and Manchester United, students benefit from mentors, guest lectures and work experience opportunities, in addition to character and personal development guidance, and financial support beyond traditional scholarships and government loans.