SCC Academy opens purpose built digital training hub

SCC, Europe’s biggest independent technology company, has opened a purpose-built headquarters campus training centre focused on delivering digital skills in the West Midlands Combined Authority area.

The best practice, employer-led training hub will deliver learning to over 1,000 people per year, working in partnership with multiple agencies and community groups to develop a range of training opportunities and provide critical foundation technology skills and ultimately the qualifications, confidence and opportunities that digitally excluded candidates need to take a step up in the world of work.

Officially opened by SCC founder Peter Rigby and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, the SCC Academy builds on SCC’s long history of supporting local and community education programmes.

It is situated on the company’s Tyseley headquarters with the capacity to cater for 78 participants at a time. While initially targeting candidates in the immediate locale, its intention is to expand a range of training programmes that can be implemented across the UK and internationally.

Courses are devised and delivered in partnership with PET-Xi, the Good Things Foundation and Firebrand.

A pilot programme conducted in partnership with the Good Things Foundation since February this year has already introduced essential digital skills to 75 local residents, with 46 of those provided with free tablet computers and internet access to support their progress.

With a core focus on lifelong learning, investment in people, and community regeneration, the SCC Academy offers a range of course levels designed to take participants from acquiring life-enhancing basic digital skills through to achieving the credible, industry-recognised qualifications required to carry them into employment.

To date, 110 students have registered for essential digital skills training, over 50 have enrolled in the Academy’s GCSE-level courses, and 18 have completed a foundation degree level Data Engineering course since the commencement of the training hub’s inaugural pilot programmes.

Built on engagement with the education sector, community enterprises, and local authority stakeholders across the board, the SCC Academy will be partnering with schools, colleges, job centres, and community groups to create a practical syllabus designed to meet the needs and address the gaps in currently available training opportunities.

Local groups already involved in the project include Catch 22, the Joseph Chamberlain Adult Education Centre, Acocks Green Library, Sparkhill Job Centre, and the Careers Advice Service.

Ongoing negotiations are also underway to introduce and run future additional training programmes in conjunction with household name partners from the technology sector.

Sir Peter Rigby, SCC founder and Chairman of parent company Rigby Group, said: “Throughout its history, SCC has been engaged with the education sector and inspired by its ideals and aims. That lifelong commitment to the value of continued learning, and the power it has to transform lives and communities, is the foundation upon which the SCC Academy is built.

“While the official opening marks the achievement of a longstanding personal ambition, this is just the beginning of a very long, very important journey for the SCC Academy. Over the months and years ahead we intend to engage and collaborate with relevant groups and stakeholders in communities across the UK and beyond to ensure that the course structure we build and evolve meets the needs of those it has been built to support in a very real and practical way.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, commented: “The SCC Academy is not only a UK first but is also a shining example of how local employers, government stakeholders and community groups can work in partnership to create opportunities in areas where people are at the greatest risk of long-term unemployment and economic disadvantage. Driven by a company that has created many thousands of jobs in the area over more than five decades, it will provide a unique and essential pathway towards enhanced life skills and potential employment for participants of all ages and backgrounds, creating hope in places where it has previously been in short supply.”

James Rigby, Chief Executive of SCC, said: “SCC is committed to supporting social inclusion and providing unique learning opportunities through the SCC Academy, as part of our ongoing investment in diversity and inclusion across. This is a huge prospect for young people in the Midlands who otherwise might not have the access to digital skills. As the Midlands’ biggest private employer, we have created more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region since arriving in 1975. By providing training and technology to improve digital skills and employability and give young people a great grounding in the world of IT, we will continue adding to that legacy for many years to come.”

Simon Fitzgerald, Head of Funding at PET-Xi, said: “We are delighted to continue building our formidable partnership within the West Midlands Combined Authority area. Community learning is close to our heart and to partner with such a dynamic organisation such as SCC enables huge benefits for all. In the past few months alone, our partnership has produced joined-up connectivity between programs and a free flowing Skills Escalator, based around Essential Digital, IT Skills and Cyber, to evolve.