February 24, 2024

Hundreds of students are using a college’s new digital and creative hub to help master high-tech skills for future jobs. The three-storey building at Stoke-on-Trent College was officially opened yesterday (May 4) and has an industrial-style feel, with glass walls, circular lighting and exposed ceilings.

But the kit inside the rooms is the real attraction and includes 3D modelling, virtual reality and digital gadgets that can bring creative concepts to life. It is also used by students on a range of media, art and design courses, with an impressive photographic studio and kilns for ceramics.

Based in the college’s former library, the space has been refurbished using £250,000 from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

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Principal Lisa Capper said it complements some of the other technologies being used across the college. “We’ve already got robotic arms and things like virtual welding. It is really exciting,” she added. “Our new state-of-the art facility will provide innovative learning to help lead the digital revolution in Stoke-on-Trent.”

The equipment includes LiDAR cameras, which can scan a room and are ideal for projects involving interior design and architecture. Kian Ball, who is studying a level three course in graphics, photography, animation and illustration, has also been using a gimbal.

Student Kian Ball with some of his work at Stoke-on-Trent College
Student Kian Ball with some of his work

The 18-year-old, from Lightwood, said: “It takes of photos at different stages. You can then put the photos together to make a panorama.”

Using dozens of photos created in this way, he has produced a striking view of Hanley’s Smithfield buildings and the recent Knife Angel sculpture. Kian loves the new facilities.

“Everything in this building is just very up-to-date. Compared to the other building, the technology is another level,” he added.

One of the classroom spaces in the new digital and creative hub at Stoke-on-Trent College
One of the classroom spaces

Daniel Gosling is doing an extended diploma in games design and gave a presentation of his work to guests at the launch event. It featured the animated adventures of a robotic character.

The 18-year-old, from Blurton, said: “It’s a very techie course, but there’s also the art side. I’m a filmmaker and this brings in 3D animation and visual effects. There are a lot of shared skills.”

The photographic studio at Stoke-on-Trent College
The photographic studio

Other projects showcased at the opening included one combining 3D modelling and motorsports. While another student had scanned pictures of classmates and turned them into a witty take on ‘collectables’ frozen inside glass structures.

Alun Rogers, chairman of the LEP, said: “As co-founder if a business in the regional digital industry myself, I’ve experienced first-hand the importance of bringing in people with the right skills and talent to help drive growth.

The digital and creative hub is based in a refurbished building at Stoke-on-Trent College
The digital and creative hub is based in a refurbished building

“This new facility will go some way to help inspire young people with the exciting opportunities available for them in the digital and creative industries across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”

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