Crossfield Construction has been awarded a £2.5m contract to build The City of Liverpool College’s Digital Academy.
The company will transform and expand the existing facilities within the Arts Centre and take over two floors of the Myrtle Street campus.
It is being re-designed to be equipped with the very latest digital technology and software.
The academy will teach young people coding, software development and a range of other digital skills, including online marketing and games design.
It is being opened in September 2017 and will be the first purpose-designed digital and coding academy in the UK.
The college anticipates student numbers in the School of Computer Science and Digital will grow from their current level of about 300 at any time to up to 500.
Students at the new academy will be able to pursue a range of qualifications, from level 1 right through to higher degree level. The academy will also be used by apprentices.
Crossfield Construction are based in Brunswick Dock, just outside Liverpool city centre, whose work crosses health, education, industrial, residential, commercial and retail sectors.
The company was established in 2012 and prides itself on maintaining its SME business links with other local start-ups and entrepreneurs, as well as students.
During construction of the Digital Academy, Crossfield will be implementing a full student engagement programme at the college which will see work placements, site visits for primary school children, mentoring and guest speaker talks be held.
The company want “the project to become a learning environment for students of the college and the local community”.
David Cain, Director Crossfield Construction, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed as Construction Partner for The City of Liverpool College’s Digital Academy.
“We recognise the significance of this project in supporting the digital skills in an area of growth across the region and believe our innovative, energetic approach will be a fantastic fit with the college and its aspirations.
“We are equally excited about our engagement plan that we are implementing with the College which will provide work placements, site visits and guest talks to students using our project as a learning tool - whilst also ensuring we employ a full supply chain from the Liverpool City Region.”
Elaine Bowker, Principal of The City of Liverpool College, said: “This investment means we will be better equipped than ever to deliver a pipeline of young people with the kind of skills which are essential for businesses in the 21st century.
“It is a signal of our focus on providing skills and qualifications which meet the needs of businesses and which directly contribute to the City region’s economic growth ambitions.”
Part of the overall funding for the project is due to be received from the Liverpool City Region Skills Capital Investment Fund, which is part of the Government’s Local Growth Fund.
In 2014 the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership secured £232m from the first round of Local Growth Fund from Government, of which £41m has been ring-fenced for skills funding.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “I am delighted that work on this vitally important facility is moving ahead.
“We have enormous opportunities to thrive and compete in this sector, but that will depend on developing the skills, potential and creativity of our young people. This is an integral part of the jigsaw for a successful digital economy for the future.”
Asif Hamid, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The digital sector is a significant priority for the City Region, and this funding secured through the Growth Deal to establish a Digital Academy for the City Region will enable us to grow our digital talent pool and help our young people develop the right skills and experience for the future.”
Councillor Ian Maher, portfolio lead for Employment and Skills for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “The funding from the City Region’s Growth Deal will ensure we are better positioned to attract investment and ensure long-term growth and prosperity.
“Improving skills is a clear priority for the Combined Authority and I’m delighted to see this investment in digital learning, particularly as skills in these areas will play a critical role in future economic growth.”