Swindon to host innovative digital skills pilot

Swindon’s iconic Carriage Works will play host to a new pilot programme aimed at people who are looking to improve their digital skills.

The Digisheds Smart Skills Course has been developed by Tin Smart Social in partnership with the Institute of Coding, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Higher Futures and Create Studios and will see employer-led studio hubs set up in the Carriage Works’ Workshed between September and December.

The hubs, which will feature industry-leading organisations from the education and digital sectors, are aimed at SMEs who have ambitions to scale up their business but may have limited resources. Larger organisations are also invited to offer mentors, coaches and business-based projects.

Digisheds also seeks to engage all types of learners who are looking to start, develop or boost their digital careers. The pilot will be delivered in the format of masterclasses and will provide tasters of the provision to test the concept and appetite locally. These will be advertised on EventBrite.

The newly-opened Workshed at the Carriage Works, a former part of Brunel’s Great Western Works, has been refurbished thanks to a £2m investment by Swindon Borough Council. It was seen as an ideal location to host the pilot programme as it provides a prime location to provide digital skills to businesses with excellent transport links and established progression routes.

Cllr Oliver Donachie, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Prosperity, said: “I am absolutely thrilled Swindon has been chosen to host Digisheds as we have a large number of tech businesses who we know struggle to attract employees with the right skills.

“Digisheds will provide a perfect pathway for local people who want to develop a career in the digital sector and the setting within Workshed could not be better with it operating as a business incubation hub for dynamic start-ups and fast-growth businesses.”

Paddy Bradley, Director of the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire need appropriately skilled and competitive workforces to enable them to innovate and grow.

“We are delighted to be supporting the launch of Digisheds, an innovative solution to addressing the digital skills gap in our area. These employer led studio hubs provide the opportunity for SMEs with limited resources to develop their staff, scale-up and contribute to the increasing productivity of our thriving economy.”

James Phipps, Executive Chairman of Swindon-based Excalibur Communications, said: “It’s great to see the Carriage Works now open and events like this show what a great place Swindon is not only to base, but also to grow your business in.”

The studios include:

  • Professional Services – New Collar Studio powered by IBM
  • Creative Technology – STEAM studios powered by Create Studios
  • IT Support Services – SIAM studios powered by Scopism
  • Cyber Security – SecureTech studios powered by Corsham Institute
  • Coding – Developer studios powered by School of Code
  • AI – Cognitive studios powered by IBM Watson
  • Health and Social Care – HealthTech studios powered by Mevarius

A drop-in event will be held tomorrow (7 Aug) at Workshed, London Street, Swindon.