Blackburn College invests £2m in improved teaching facilities

By Tim Aldred

12 May 2023

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Blackburn College has secured £2.1m of Office for Students capital funding which will be used to enhance its cyber training suites and healthcare teaching ward.

The college will work in partnership with local employers to replicate real industry environments to help prepare students for the working world.

The facilities will be available to those studying for a range of existing and new qualifications.

The bespoke cyber and digital training centre will provide hands-on cyber security education and training. It will feature dedicated ‘attack’ and ‘defence’ rooms, creating hyper-realistic cyber-attack scenarios, as well as a new cyber project lab, and enhanced teaching areas.  

The college anticipates that having such real-world cyber, digital and data science training capabilities will help students take advantage of the growing job opportunities in this sector.

This includes the jobs set to be created by the arrival of the National Cyber Force in nearby Samlesbury, and the wider North West ‘cyber zone’ set to be established between Lancashire and Manchester.

A dynamic healthcare facility is also being developed featuring a new healthcare simulation ward. Equipped with programmable patient manikins calibrated for different clinical situations, the facility will give healthcare students realistic experiences in dealing with emergency, paediatric and other healthcare scenarios in line with current NHS best practice – without needing to access hospital sites.

The cyber training facilities will support degree studies in Data Science, Networking & Cyber Security and Software Development, all of which are validated by Lancaster University, while the healthcare hub will play a key role in a new Health and Social Care foundation degree in partnership with UCLan (subject to validation).

As well as boosting the college’s Higher Education provision through its University Centre, technical qualifications and apprenticeships will benefit.

The new facilities will also enable the University Centre to offer more flexible provision to meet the needs of employers and students to encourage a wider demographic of students to participate in higher education.

Dr Fazal Dad, principal and chief executive of Blackburn College, said: "These latest state-of-the-art investments will bring fantastic benefits to our students and the wider economic community by addressing crucial skills gaps.

"We have specifically designed our offering in line with employer needs in key sectors such as cyber and digital, healthcare and electric vehicles, as well as diversity and inclusion, working closely with them to ensure that our students are leaving us to progress into jobs and careers that will have a positive impact on local and regional economies today and long into the future.”

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