digital training

College celebrate launch of risual Microsoft Academy

Employers, staff and industry professionals attended the launch of Cheshire College – South & West’s risual Microsoft Academy, an initiative that will provide Microsoft accredited digital training for learners and local employers to equip them and their staff with the skills and knowledge they require in the workplace.

The new collaboration between the College, risual and Microsoft aims to embrace the digital revolution and link employers with learners. The digital training centre contains the latest Microsoft technology and will be used to train internal and external staff, access digital apprenticeships and provide industry qualifications.

Paul Edge, Microsoft Learning Consultant said: “Our aim as a company is to empower people to achieve more and this is what we are hoping to accomplish with the Academy. Through digital literacy we want to empower people within the College, both learners and staff, and arm them with the skills they need for the future.

“Technology is a constant evolution and with a blended approach we can enhance our future with the latest innovations. This is a partnership that benefits the whole organisation, creating pathways around digital skills and use of technology to improve overall effectiveness.”

Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal/ Deputy Chief Executive at Cheshire College – South & West opened proceedings at the event and commented: “The Academy idea was born out of a conversation some 12 months ago with our Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Representative, Mark Livesey. We discussed how we can respond to the digital world, and agreed we needed to invest time and effort in the right areas by creating a digital hub with the aim of sharing knowledge and information.

“It is a critical time for any organisation as the pace of change in the world of digital and technology continues to accelerate. We want to prepare our learners so that they have the skills they need for when they begin the next stage of their career. We are engaging with employers nationally and locally to understand specific needs and prepare our learners accordingly. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity, which we hope will soon have an impact in the anytime, anywhere learning forum.”

Mark Livesey, Deputy Chief Executive at Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) added: “I am delighted to see the developments over the past year come to fruition and feel tremendously proud to have played a part in scoping out this programme. We believe this will have a significant impact on the local economy, drive economic growth and create additional job opportunities. I look forward to seeing what’s to come.”

Leading IT consultants, risual, have been transforming organisations with technology for over ten years, providing market leading consulting, managed services and solutions in IT. risual have experienced first-hand the difficulty in bridging the digital skills gap between education and in the work place. Hence, they have teamed up with Cheshire College – South & West to narrow this margin and create an effective learning programme.

Richard Proud, Co-Founder and Director of risual said: “As an employer, I experienced the problem that existed around talent and education. It became evident that the issue was in the skills gap. I was gaining talented learners but their skills didn’t match my requirements and we had to start again with their training.

“That’s when I decided I wanted to make a difference and act now to improve the quality of learning, in order to effectively align young people with employers to create a better fit. Since then we have been working with our partners Microsoft and Cheshire College – South & West to create and develop a programme that makes learning more relevant.

“We have built this risual Microsoft Academy with the aim of affecting young people’s lives in a more positive way. Through the Academy we have created a learning environment that is more aligned to the skills employers are looking for, essentially connecting people in the right way and reducing the digital skills gap we have witnessed directly in the market. The pace of change alters daily now, we want to be with it, keeping on top of it and benefitting from it.”

Digital literacy is one of the most valuable tools for lifelong learning. The influence of social media, technology and online resources has had a huge impact on society. Having an understanding of the evolving digital world can be the difference between success and holding people back.

Julian Cobley, Managing Director at the Skills & Growth Company commented: “We are whole heartedly behind this Academy and what can be achieved with this additional facility. This is a big step in the right direction to meet with local digital skills needs and will drive a positive change with employer engagement.”

For more information on the risual Microsoft Academy at Cheshire College – South & West and details on how you can benefit, visit or call the College hotline on 01270 654654.