Digital skills training centre nears completion

Comfortable seating around a screen on the wall, with desks and chairs in the foreground

The DigiTech Centre at BT's Adastral Park - Credit: University of Suffolk

The University of Suffolk’s £9.6million digital skills training centre, the DigiTech Centre on BT’s Adastral Park, is nearing completion and will welcome students this year.  

The DigiTech Centre is a collaboration between the university and BT, with funding from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).  

It will provide training in cutting-edge digital skills for people looking to pursue careers in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, as well as fuelling high tech businesses who increasingly require access to a talented technology workforce. Specialist high tech laboratories will form the heart of the new centre, and will be used jointly by university staff, students and businesses at Adastral Park and across the region.  

The labs will focus on key digital skills in Data Science, Cyber Security and IoT Smart technologies. The DigiTech Centre will have one of the best equipped research facilities for digital forensics in the UK. 

Rows of desks, chairs and computers, with a screen saying Digitech on it on the wall

The AI lab at the DigiTech Centre - Credit: University of Suffolk

Professor Nicholas Caldwell, the university’s professor of information systems engineering, said: “It’s a joint initiative that provides a 21st century centre for teaching digital skills and courses for the benefit of everyone in the region. It provides a venue not just for students who want to get degrees but also a venue for continuing professionals’ development or people who are already in employment.”  

Once operational, the centre will be used by around 500 students and 145 apprentices each year, with students splitting their time between Adastral Park and the Waterfront campus in Ipswich. The university will be one of only a handful globally to have the direct backing and link with one of the world’s top communications companies and it is set to help attract students from far afield. Course leaders at the university are already working on a tie-up with police forces in the region to develop cyber-security and forensics training, but it will also be used by wildlife and ecology students to study environmental conditions, as well as those on the university’s other ICT courses.  

A new MSc Data Science and Artificial Intelligence started this year and attracted interest from many international students.  

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Lisa Perkins, director of Adastral Park and research realisation at BT, said: “We have massive ambitions across the East to be that leading ICT innovation hotspot. We have all the ingredients to make that happen. Not only will our future technologists benefit, our companies will benefit, and we will create new businesses from graduates setting up their own start-ups.”  

Find out more about the DigiTech Centre and the courses available. Take a virtual tour of the University of Suffolk.