College Connect: June 2023 -

College Connect: June 2023

New £2.7 million facilities to train students in the latest high tech industry skills have officially launched at Askham Bryan College’s York campus as part of its membership of the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology and supported by the Local Enterprise Partnership.

In this edition of College Connect, Laura Black, Vice Principal, and the College’s Strategic Lead for the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology, explains why it is vital to equip students with the technical skills that support the region’s employers.

Why is it important for students to have high level technical skills now and in future?

As a specialist land based provider, Askham Bryan College is developing the next generation of talented individuals who will be leading the responses to both current and future challenges for the economy and environment. Students with technical skills are equipped to be adaptable, which is crucial in a fast-paced and ever-changing professional environment.

The way we live, work and connect with the environment is continuously evolving. We are seeing rapid change on all fronts whether through legislative and technological developments or changing consumer expectations and demand. Sympathetic management of our environment resources, be it for food production, environmental protection and future planning is paramount to a stable, sustainable future.

Those individuals who are joining the land based sector as a career need to be dynamic, responsive and diverse. Consequently, there is a strong need for well educated, highly skilled specialists who have an understanding of these broader issues and who can contribute positively to the land based workforce, economy and environment.

That’s where our latest unveiling of our exciting new £2.7 million high tech facilities fits in;
it is vital that our curriculum keeps pace with industry developments and equips our students with new higher level technical skills that fill skills gaps, increase productivity, and support entrepreneurship and job creation.

These facilities mean that learners at the college are experiencing the use of leading-edge technologies and techniques, those which are being adopted and implemented in forward thinking businesses in the sector.

These technologies are benefitting our diploma and degree students but also crucially, as learners participate in work-experience, and move on to full-time employment, this encourages adoption with employers in the region and in the sector.

This commitment also reflects our vision to be a leading college nationally for animal science and conservation, and sustainable food production by 2030.

How is the College working with employers to develop industry relevant skills?

We are proud to be part of the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology, which comprises a regional consortium of colleges, universities and employers with a £14 million capital investment from the Department for Education.

As one of twelve Institutes of Technology (IoT) across England, it is designed to increase access to higher level technical skills required by employers. The IoTs are based on collaborative partnerships and committed to identifying future skills needs and supporting technological innovation to contribute to economic growth.

During an official opening event on April 19th, 2023, guests took part in a tour of our new facilities, saw demonstrations of the equipment and spoke with students and staff.

Stakeholders attending included local and regional employers as well as representatives from the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology, York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, City of York Council, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Landex, the Young Farmers’ Club and the University of York.

Tell us more about the new facilities at the College

The college has received and investment of £1.7 million into the precision livestock facility funded by the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology.

Comprising a calf rearing facility and beef grower unit, and a teaching and learning space, the state-of-the-art precision livestock equipment is being used by diploma and degree level students studying at University Centre Askham Bryan (UCAB).

The facility takes a fully digitised approach to sustainable high welfare farming. Students complete research and make animal husbandry and welfare decisions based on real time data. This includes the recording and analysis of full lifecycle data via electronic wearable devices of individual animals, including health and wellbeing data, food and water intake, and productive capacities.

Having live data on a web-platform allows for timely analysis for precision husbandry decision making, and also provides the opportunity for longer-term data-driven research. You can find more details on our website about our Institute of Technology facilities.

The College has also launched a £1 million Digital Skills Academy, funded by York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership through the government’s Getting Building Fund. The academy focuses on equipping students, and those already in the workforce, with enhanced skills in line with emerging digital technology industry trends.

The equipment includes immersive technology such as virtual reality headsets, the use of augmented reality, as well as environmental management applications of lidar scanning. You can find out more details on our website about our Digital Skills Academy.

What courses and qualifications are being offered alongside these new facilities?

At University Centre Askham Bryan in York, we offer an exciting choice of higher education programmes for undergraduates and postgraduates that equip them with the skills to adapt and thrive within this evolving industry.

Students can choose from a range of degree level programmes, which include Agriculture, Applied Sustainable Land Management, Precision Livestock Farming, Animal Bioscience and Management, Wildlife and Environmental conservation and Veterinary Nursing.

Our wider degree offer also includes Management of Animal Collections with Conservation, Canine and Feline Management, Equine, Zoo and Wildlife and Management. Our postgraduate options include Applied Animal behaviour and Welfare and Zoo Management and Conservation. All UCAB course information is available on our website.

We pride ourselves on our strong partnerships with employers. Our technical and professional land based curriculum is high quality, industry‑relevant and enhances our students’ employability.

How are employers responding to these new developments?

Employers and stakeholders have been really impressed by what they’ve seen on campus. In particular, they have found it very helpful to see the new calf rearing and beef unit in operation to help understand the role that it plays in delivering training on new technologies.

We’ve had great feedback about how we are capturing data across the farm and the beef unit, and in turn how accessible the information is to students.

Join us at our University Centre Askham Bryan open event on June 17th, 2023. Book your place here.

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