£220k education grant to close digital skills gap in Lincoln

Academics and employers will work together to develop a new digital skills curriculum to serve the innovation needs of major industries ranging from food manufacturing to renewable energy.

The project, led by the University of Lincoln with direct input from industry partners, aims to identify and close skills gaps in digital literacy across a variety of employment sectors.

These sectors include:

  • Engineering
  • Food and farming
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Renewable energy
  • Tourism

It is funded with a grant of almost £200,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and contributions from the University and industrial partners.

A team of academic and industry experts will be formed to align the teaching curriculum in STEM subjects at Lincoln with the current and future digital skills needs of specific industries, ensuring a pipeline of digitally-literate, industry-ready graduates.

Employers will co-produce course materials designed to prepare learners for the digital economy and students will work on real-world challenges set by businesses to find digitally-enabled solutions.

A variety of industrial partners of different sizes and sectors will support the creation of the new curriculum content.

These include global companies such as Siemens, NHS organisations, Anglian Water and innovative local SMEs in high-tech sectors such as agri-tech, oil and gas, cloud-based software, and laser manufacturing.

Professor Libby John, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Science at the University of Lincoln said: “Society is in the midst of a fourth Industrial Revolution and those economies which thrive in the 21st Century will be those that embrace digitally enabled technologies, such as robotics, machine learning, the Internet of Things and big data analytics.

“Lincolnshire is in prime position to build on its strengths in sectors such as food and farming, engineering and tourism – if we can establish the infrastructure needed to realise the full potential of digital to enhance productivity and deliver real innovation. ”