BIM & blockchain among core modules in new digital construction bootcamp

by Liam Turner
Students discussing a topic together

Northumbria University has launched a series of skills bootcamps to try and bridge the digital skills gap and support the expansion of the digital construction sector in the UK.

The university has been awarded £800,000 to deliver two, 16-week-long courses as part of the Department for Education’s (DfE) ‘Skills Bootcamps’.

The bootcamps are being provided by the Institute of Coding (IoC), a collaborative national consortium of industry, educators, and outreach providers who are working together to respond to the UK’s digital skills gap through the delivery of employer-led digital skills education.

The Skills Bootcamps aim to provide learners with best-in-class digital skills education and deliver resilient pathways to work, with learners receiving the opportunity to interview with an employer upon the successful completion of their Skills Bootcamp.

The Cloud Computing and Data Analytics course is targeted at those working within the construction industry, with a focus on digital construction.

It will cover:

  • The role of coding in the construction industry
  • Understanding Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Big data analytics, Machine Learning
  • Internet of Things, Blockchain
  • Artificial Intelligence Algorithms, Neural Network Learning

The Software Developer/Engineer course is aimed at architects, engineers, technicians, technologists, and anyone interested in advanced digital model authoring and manipulation.

It will cover:

  • Understanding Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Industry-specific software training
  • Getting under the skin – opening up the SDK
  • Introducing Dynamo and Python
  • Workforce Skills Training – presentation skills, employability skills, etc.

Both courses will also focus on presentation skills, case study development and training, employability skills, and interview techniques.

The Skills Bootcamps will take place online initially and will include a mixture of pre-recorded instructional material and timetabled live sessions.

‘A key moment’

Lucy Winskell OBE – pro vice-chancellor (Employability and Partnerships) at Northumbria University and chair of the board of the NELEP – said: “We are delighted to be supporting the delivery of the government’s Skills Bootcamps.

“Northumbria’s expertise in digital construction research, combined with our reputation for innovation and entrepreneurism, and our strong industry partnerships, means we are extremely well-placed to provide this vital training.

“Along with our regional partners, we are committed to ensuring the North East economy remains resilient in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to helping to plug the digital skills gap and supporting the expansion of the digital construction sector in our region.”

Professor Becky Strachan – deputy pro vice-chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering and Environment at Northumbria University – added: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Bath and the wider IoC consortium to offer these Skills Bootcamps tailored to support the construction industry to build its human capability around digital technologies.

“These bootcamps bring together our expertise at Northumbria in digital technologies and the built environment and build on our strong partnerships in the region and across the UK around digital construction.

“We are looking forward to seeing the tangible benefits that participants and employers will reap from this great skills initiative.”

Tim Bailey, chair of Constructing Excellence in the North East, said: “Congratulations to Northumbria University and their partners.

“This funding is warmly welcomed and has arrived at a key moment for the region’s construction industry.

“Growth in digital construction skills is critical for delivering on the challenges of the near future.

“Constructing Excellence in the North East are delighted to support this important initiative as it advances the objectives of the region’s construction strategy.”

Image: Headway/Unsplash


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