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Digital skills in focus as UWE/ Skilled partner

Skilled Education’s CEO Rajay Naik, and the vice-chancellor of UWE Bristol, Steve West CBE. Photo: Skilled Education

"We knew we had to partner to ensure the most relevant and immersive curricula"

The agreement will offer more than 30,000 current and former students a new course that will be designed and delivered with the commercial provider.

“Every university and every learner across the world has just experienced an unprecedented year but the real disruption is yet to come,” said Steve West CBE, vice-chancellor of the Bristol-based institution.

“We are proud to play our part in their transition to enhanced employability and online delivery”

“The world of work is changing in front of our eyes and we know that all employers – irrespective of industry – require people with the most in-demand digital and soft skills.”

UWE has an obligation to prioritise employability alongside the academic rigour, teaching excellence, research insights and student experience, he added. “And that means digital and soft skills.”

“We knew we had to partner to ensure the most relevant and immersive curricula, an exceptional online learning experience, access to the best industry leaders and a truly bespoke approach for our university,” West said.

Headed by Rajay Naik, former CEO of Keypath Education and director of the Open University where he was an architect of the FutureLearn platform, Skilled has signed partnerships with prestigious global universities including the University of Cambridge and London School of Economics recently.

“At the start of the pandemic we were supporting universities to adapt and design online and blended courses as part of a rapid and necessary transition,” he said.

“However, it is now vital that our institutions lead out of this pandemic. All of our partners have recognised that what they deliver and how they deliver it must adapt and we are proud to play our part in their transition to enhanced employability and online delivery.”

Core digital skills in the UWE initiative include artificial intelligence, data analysis and digital marketing as well as soft skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership, the partners added.

While other providers have looked to deliver coding bootcamps, Skilled suggested its courses align with institutions’ strategies.

“Typical bootcamps typically attract affluent male learners in their late thirties and early forties. Whilst they deliver benefits, we are determined to reduce social disparities, deliver key skills to students of all disciplines and enhance the outcomes that universities deliver directly,” Naik noted.

“If we prioritise student outcomes, incorporate employers into curricula, engage academics effectively and build truly immersive online experiences we have a unique opportunity to boost social mobility, build a more productive workforce and ensure Britain’s Universities remain at the vanguard of the world.”

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