Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has officially opened a new facility at Trafford College to provide industry-recognised technology skills and digital education.
The Microsoft Imagine Academy, which is a first in Greater Manchester, will enable students to gain qualifications on Microsoft products and technologies to help them thrive in an increasingly digital, global economy.
By graduating through the Microsoft Imagine Academy programme, students and staff will gain valuable skills across four key areas of computer science, IT infrastructure, data science and productivity.
Equipped with industry leading technology including a suite of Surface Pro’s, 84 inch Surface Hub and enterprise standard Microsoft HoloLens, the Microsoft Imagine Academy offers the ultimate digital learning environment.
The Academy programmes support ongoing technology education and cover computer basics to more high-level programming for specialists including IT and CAD professionals.
As part of a £120,000 initial investment, the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification, which is the world’s most recognised computing qualification for proving a person’s skills and abilities in Microsoft’s Office applications, is currently being rolled out to students across the College.
The digital entitlement provided by the Academy also extends to staff to support them in delivering the new digital curriculum and to develop their teaching approaches in line with developing educational technology. This includes helping current teachers retrain through an effective programme of continuous professional development and ensuring new teachers are equipped with the right skills to teach the new curriculum.
Mr Burnham cut the ribbon with Graham Luccock, chair of governors, during the official launch event on February 1, before trying out some of the facilities for himself including experiencing the Microsoft Hololens head set which can provide surgeons with ‘X-ray vision’ and architects with 3-D modelling capability.
Mr Luccock said: “As a career-focussed college, I am extremely proud that we have created this partnership with Microsoft in line with the Government’s digital skills agenda.
“This programme, which is unique to the area, highlights our commitment to our students to provide them with the most up-to-date technology skills, giving them the competitive edge in the job market or the next step in their education.”
Trafford Council Leader Sean Anstee said: “Digital skills are a key priority for the development of students, staff and the wider community and we want to empower individuals to be confident in this increasingly digital world and achieve their career goals, by providing up-to-date, relevant qualifications that will meet the need of employers.”
Mayor Andy Burnham said “I was very honoured to open this fantastic facility, which will provide much needed technology education. This will equip students and staff, as well helping local businesses up-skill their workforce, with the in-demand technical skills needed to succeed in this digital age.”
Alongside the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification, the Academy will also offer courses in the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) programme – an entry-level credential that validates fundamental technology skills and knowledge for those wishing to pursue a career in technology.
MTA addresses a wide range of critical technology concepts with exams that are designed to assess and validate core technical concepts in three primary areas: Developer, Database, and IT Professional.
As the preferred path to Microsoft’s Certified Professional exams, such as Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), the MTA is the ideal starting point for anyone interested in starting a career in technology.