An exciting project to turn Plymouth into a digital learning campus gets underway later this year.

The City Council has worked with the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) on a successful bid to the Royal Society for Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) to become one of the first UK ‘Cities of Learning’.

Cities of Learning is based on an idea from the United States that aims to widen students’ learning opportunities through a digital system.

The project will bring together local businesses, organisations, networks and communities across Plymouth to develop learning opportunities for use on a digital platform under the following themes:

  • Creative, cultural, and digital
  • Health, youth, volunteering, housing
  • Social enterprise, community businesses

Learners will be able to keep a record of their activities in a digital portfolio of achievement.

Data from the platform will also help to provide valuable insight into learning activity and employment trends across the city, enabling targeted planning and streamlining of services.

One of the key aims from Cities of Learning is to present combined learning offers, particularly to those young people who are disengaged from formal education, to recognise knowledge, skills, attitudes and values.

The RSA is the leading the Cities of Learning project with £250,000 of funding from the City and Guilds Group with Plymouth receiving a grant of £70,000 which will be administered by RIO as the project’s lead anchor organisation.

City College Plymouth and Plymouth College of Art have also been key partners in the development of the project, which received investment because of the track record of partnership working in the city and Plymouth’s’ commitment to inclusive growth as demonstrated by iMayflower, Fab City, and Illuminate.

Councillor Jon Taylor, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Transformation said:

“This is a really exciting project for Plymouth to be a part. We’re going to be making the whole city a digital learning campus which will ultimately encourage more people to take part in learning. As a council we are determined to ensure our young people are skilled and ready to step into the world of work and Cities of Learning is a way for students to keep a digital record of that learning.”

Lindsey Hall, Chief Executive at the Real Ideas Organisation said:

“Plymouth is a really exciting place to be, leading the way innovating inclusive approaches to grow our economy. Cities of Learning is key part of this jigsaw, creating a digital record of learning that is vital to businesses and communities. We are delighted to be involved, not least because Cities of Learning enables us all to recognise the many talented young – and older – people we work with. As the network spreads, we look forward to working with organisations across the city and beyond. It’s great – get involved!”

There are several organisations already signed up to the project, including Youth Services and The Box. It’s anticipated that the project will get underway in September this year with the first badges being out to learners in October.

Councillor Taylor added:

“Being recognised as a City of Learning provides an opportunity for Plymouth to lead the way in innovative approaches to education. It provides a way to celebrate the city as a destination for learning, employability and cultural development as well as raising aspirations and promoting the achievements of our young people.”

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