Students at Warrington’s University Technical College will benefit from a significant investment in specialist cyber security equipment, after the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) announced 13 projects will benefit from over £4million of investment.

UTC Warrington, based on Dallam Lane, will receive investment of £20,000 to create a state-of-the-art cyber security and networking lab, which will be open to institutions and organisations across the community.

Chris Hatherall, Assistant Principal at the UTC, said the funding would build on UTC Warrington’s success in working with local and national employer partners to simulate real-world challenges for students to develop their skills and relationships with industry leaders.

He said: “This exciting new cyber project at UTC Warrington aims to deliver training in network configuration and security through a hands-on practical approach to learning, using latest industry-standard equipment. Replicating real-world problems facing businesses, learners will work to protect against internal and external threats.”

“The cyber and digital equipment purchased will be highly adaptable and over time will facilitate the teaching of a wide range of other foundation and advanced computing topic areas such as programming and scientific analysis. Users will be given access to this equipment and specialist learning environment as part of a Cyber pathway which has been developed in line with major employer partners, including Fujitsu, National Crime Agency and GCHQ.”

The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership have ensured that digital skills are at the centre of its investment, with the new projects aiming to provide learning opportunities for over 52,000 residents in Cheshire and Warrington.

An emphasis on implementing mobile equipment that can be used across a number of organisations is seeking to develop new skills and career opportunities in the region.

Mr Hatherall said that the UTC will be continuing to work closely with partner groups to open up access to the new equipment.

“From primary schools to Higher Education institutions, and SMEs to larger organisations looking to retrain and upskill, this kit can be loaned right across the community to help understand the challenges of 21st century cyber security.”  

Clare Hayward, Chair of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, suggests that the investment in digital skills training will be crucial to the economic recovery following the Covid-19 crisis.

She said: “There has never been a more pressing time to fully harness technology within our businesses so we help to quicken the rate at which our local economy can start to recover.”  

“Enabling our communities to have easier access to digital technology so they can increase knowledge and digital skills levels is vital too, so we can open up career and employment opportunities.”