College inspires young innovators with new facilities for IT and engineering


An array of technology, from the latest 3D printers and game systems to CNC milling machines, was in action at the launch of the new state-of-the-art facilities for innovation, IT and engineering at East Berkshire College in Langley on Tuesday 25th November 2014.

Designed to inspire the next generation of inventors, designers, computer scientists and engineers, the facilities include a brand new Innovation Centre (known as the Genovation Centre), IT labs, computer-aided design studio and engineering workshops.

The Mayor of Slough, Councillor Shafiq Chaudhry, officially unveiled the facilities to gathered guests, which included local dignitaries, students, staff and local businesses such as Microsoft and British Airways.

Special guest Marc Koska, who is renowned for inventing an innovative auto-disable syringe which has potentially saved over 100 million lives, treated the assembled guests and students to an inspiring talk and Q&A on innovation as part of the event.

Talking at the launch, Virginia Barrett, Deputy Principal for Curriculum & Quality at East Berkshire College, said: "The College is committed to continual improvement to ensure our facilities remain up-to-date and in line with the changing needs of businesses. In recent years, we have invested heavily in developing our Langley College to further enhance the learning experience for our students and enable them to develop the specialist skills employers require. We believe these latest facilities will help inspire the next generation of inventors, engineers, designers and computer scientists."

Visitors were able to take a tour of the new facilities, which includes a brand new Innovation Centre (called the Genovation Centre), which provides a unique learning space for creative thinking, research and project development as well as showcasing new technologies and product design development.

Highlights of the event included a range of interactive demonstrations by engineering and IT students from the College. These included Raspberry Pi programming, robotics and laser cutting. Visitors were also able to view a display of iconic computers courtesy of the Centre for Computing History to see how technology has evolved over time and even 'have a go' at programming a drone to fly through an obstacle course, assembling a PC and playing a vegetable piano!

The impressive new facilities are part of East Berkshire College's £30million makeover of its Langley College in Station Road. The stunning new centre will mean students receive up-to-date training on the very latest technology, while addressing a skills shortage identified in the UK in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Dr Anne Murdoch OBE, Programme Lead for Skills, Education and Employment at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, added:

"This is an ideal precursor to the wider Solutions Labs project that is part of the Strategic Economic Plan for Thames Valley Berkshire. Collectively these projects aim to provide young people with the resources and skills to turn their business ideas into reality.

The delivery of the project will help drive the lifeblood of the local economy by increasing the supply of people with STEM skills, as well as building better links between business and education; making them part of the same supply chain."

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 800 courses including apprenticeships, call 0845 373 2500 or click here.

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