Tune into a digital skills academy

1st February 2013 at 00:00
A high-tech education facility is coming to John Logie Baird's home town, writes Henry Hepburn

A pound;2 million fundraising campaign has begun towards a digital skills academy based in John Logie Baird's home town.

The Heroes Centre in Helensburgh is the brainchild of Phil Worms, an IT industry veteran of 25 years and director of Helensburgh Heroes, the charity behind the project.

The plan is to create a digital and IT education facility by converting a derelict Victorian warehouse, where people of all ages will be taught media and production skills to help them thrive in the digital workplace, while businesses will be able to use facilities for web promotion and marketing.

It will also have a cinema and a three-storey wall of fame, showing off memorabilia from inspirational men and women who have come from the town.

"As the convergence of internet and TV technologies gathers pace, it's widely recognised that we need a new generation of digital content creators, and yet a major issue facing Scotland is the dramatic decline in the numbers of young people taking IT-related subjects in further education," Mr Worms says.

The Scottish government has shown interest. Humza Yousaf, minister for external affairs and international development, has said that it "would give the next generation of Scots a creative environment to acquire new media skills and expertise". The creative industries were growing in Scotland, contributing pound;2.7 billion to its economy, he added.

Polly Purvis, executive director of ScotlandIS - the IT and creative technology industry body - described the centre as "a really exciting development", highlighting that video was "the fastest-growing element of social media and increasingly being adopted in business and education".

The plans also have support from actor Lex Shrapnel, of BBC TV drama Hunted and blockbuster film Captain America: The First Avenger, whose grandmother was Helensburgh-born Hollywood legend Deborah Kerr.

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