Skills Minister acknowledges colleges as "unsung heroes"

Thursday 26 May 2016

Bedford is combating the digital skills shortage with forward-thinking companies and advanced education providers.

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MP Richard Fuller invited Minister of State for Skills and Equalities Nick Boles MP to join a platform alongside MatsSoft, a technology business which has recently established an innovation centre in Bedford with international civil engineers Mott McDonald.

Also on the panel was Ian Pryce CBE, Principal and CEO of Bedford College and Toby Thompson, Director of Cranfield University.

Richard Fuller MP is a member of the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee, who said:  “The digital revolution means the whole way we work will be completely changed - we are lucky to be supported here in Bedford by two institutions: Bedford College and Cranfield University.” 

“Given the Government’s commitment to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, now is a great opportunity to identify gaps in local skills provision and to shape the content and direction of future courses.”

The Minister outlined initiatives which will act as cornerstones of a forward-thinking skills plan. These include government changes in the approach to funding apprenticeships via a new levy and the introduction of an independent Institute for Apprenticeships that would allow businesses to control how apprenticeships are delivered.

Ian Pryce talked about the need for ‘digital literacy’ across all age groups to support businesses and how the College was responding to that, with 2,000 people going through computer courses at its High Street centre. Meanwhile world class IT training with higher or degree-level learning was delivered at the Cauldwell Street campus. Apprenticeships were the way to combine advanced level IT training with the real life experience young people needed to become valuable employees or entrepreneurs. 

He added: “I am pleased that the Minister made the point that colleges are the unsung heroes of education.”

MatsSoft has won global recognition for its Low-code technology which enables business to achieve digital transformation without needing coding skills.

“This was a great opportunity to introduce people to Low-code business-tailored technology we are now offering companies in partnership with an international innovator. We have a local MP who is helping to put Bedford on the national skills map which is a win, win for business,” said Martin Scovell, CEO of MatsSoft.

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