The £4,322 funding will
pay for Raspberry Pi kit - robot base units, optical sensors,
magnetic compass and range sensors - which will give 120 students
the opportunity to take part in a major practical project and
The grant for the
equipment comes shortly after Northumberland College announced it
is investing £2.5 million on a new Science and Technology Centre at
its Ashington campus, which will open in 2017, to help plug skills
shortages in industries where STEM subjects are vital. New courses
are being designed in conjunction with employers covering
fabrication, processing, IT and digital, robotics and
The new centre will include specialist science and technology
workshops with dedicated facilities, such as fab labs the next
generation of product designers and entrepreneurs can access the
latest in digital fabrication equipment for prototyping.
Jennie Beaumont, Vice Principal of Northumberland College, said:
"We're very grateful for the grant from the Community Foundation's
Platten Family Fund for the Raspsberry Pi equipment, which will go
a long way towards helping the new Science and Technology centre
achieve its goals of turning out more young people with skills in
"The practical project
that students will be undertaking will focus on skills that will be
valuable in the workplace and will showcase to North East employers
our commitment to improving STEM education in the region."
Northumberland College IT
lecturer, Toby Bell, will deliver the Raspberry Pi practical
project over the course of the 2016/17 academic year. The programme
will involve 120 engineering and IT students, who will put together
a showcase of their achievements at the end of the courses.
Mr Bell said: "In terms of
updating our equipment, this improves our ability to deliver at the
cutting edge. The Raspberry Pi equipment is miniature so it can be
inbuilt into almost micro PCs.
"Employers are looking for those
skills in the communication technology industry: the more mobile
apps we have, the more paperless we are and the more devices that
are controlled remotely.
"They require young people to be
more digitally literate so they can implement computers into the
changing world. It's not about how computers work, but how we can
make them work to do a real world job."
The Community Foundation grant
for the equipment came from the Platten Family Fund, set up by
philanthropist Tony Platten after the sale of his electronic
engineering company Tynetec. Grants made from this fund aim to
support young people to consider - and be ready for - careers in
engineering and other science and technology-based professions.
Mr Platten said: "When I
established my fund at the Community Foundation I had one goal in
mind: to equip today's young people with the skills and resources
they need to forge careers in science, technology, engineering and
"Coding and programming is an
increasingly important part of this world, and we have big plans to
work with schools, community groups and colleges across Tyne &
Wear and Northumberland to help ensure they have the resources
needed to teach at the highest level.
"As a South East Northumberland
resident myself I'm thrilled that one of the first institutions to
benefit is our local college, and I can't wait to see the results
of the practical projects that the students are working on."
The Newcastle-based Community
Foundation is a hub for people, businesses and charities that want
to give to communities by matching their interests with those
seeking funding. It has endowments of more than £67 million.
Jon Goodwin, senior philanthropy
advisor at the Community Foundation, said: "The Community
Foundation is all about matching the interests and aspirations of
the philanthropists who give to us with the organisations who are
best-placed to deliver.
"Northumberland College's new
STEM Centre will put it at the forefront of the county's approach
to upskilling the next generation of technologically-minded young
people and, in the 21st century, digital
technologies are a fundamental part of that.
"It's crucial that young people
are learning using the most up-to-date technology available, and
we're delighted to be able to support the college with the purchase
of this really exciting equipment."
This latest development is a
further testament to the College's commitment to advancing IT and
Digital Skills, following the launch of its Huawei Academy in
Through the Huawei Academy certification training, the
partnership combines industry and academic expertise to help
enhance the skills and career prospects of students studying at
As part of the e-learning training in the Huawei Academy,
students gain expertise on a wide range of key industry areas,
including routing and switching, security, wireless LAN, big data,
cloud computing technologies and IT storage technologies.
To find out more about courses in
IT and Digital, please visit www.northumberland.ac.uk