Partnership launched to boost digital innovation in communities and businesses

"As a Connected University that is committed to improving people's lives across the region, and beyond, it is vital that we use our expertise to bring new opportunities and a higher quality of life to people across Staffordshire."

Professor Ieuan Ellis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Partnerships and Region)

A partnership which will explore and deliver digital innovation in Staffordshire to improve people's lives and boost business productivity has been officially launched.

Staffordshire University and Staffordshire County Council will be working together to create a range of opportunities to support a thriving local economy, increase skills and improve health and wellbeing by making the most of the latest digital technology.

The Staffordshire Deal, which launches in Stafford today, aims to raise aspirations of students, communities and businesses.

The University is celebrating over 50 years of computing excellence and is a leader in digital technology. It is aiming to create thousands of apprenticeships over the next decade, embedding digital skills to support the needs of local business. Schools are also set to benefit from the University's Microsoft Digital Skills programme, which aims to improve learning and knowledge of students and teachers as well as creating digital apprenticeships.

In addition, digital innovation events will be delivered in Stafford as part of extending the University's presence across the county – supporting businesses by driving innovation and improving productivity.

Over the next five years the Staffordshire Deal sets out to:

  • Create 900 digitally enable apprentices

  • Produce 3,000 digitally enabled graduates

  • Ensure 100 businesses are engaged in digital innovation

  • Retain 50% more digitally skilled graduates in the local area

Professor Ieuan Ellis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Partnerships and Region) said: "Staffordshire University has an outstanding heritage in technology, and is at the forefront in preparing graduates and supporting businesses to embrace the transformational opportunities of digital technologies. We are leading the country for our courses in computer games design and Esports. As a Connected University that is committed to improving people's lives across the region, and beyond, it is vital that we use our expertise to bring new opportunities and a higher quality of life to people across Staffordshire."

"Our partnership with Staffordshire County Council, who are recognised as a leading local authority, will bring real benefits to local people and businesses across the region. It will see more joined-up support and digital technologies become a fundamental part of citizen's lives. Staffordshire sits on the cusp of becoming a truly digital county and we are proud to be playing a key role to realise this opportunity.

Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins said: “These are exciting times and we are working continually with a range of partners to ensure we are a more prosperous county where people are better skilled and have better paid jobs.

"Successful partnerships are vital to this delivery and so we're pleased to mark our close working relationship with Staffordshire University this week. It is at the forefront of the digital age and this partnership will ensure that county residents and businesses fully benefit from its expertise and leadership.

"Modern technology is helping to boost efficiency and transform how we work for the benefit of our residents. Our partnership means that we can explore cutting edge technology and to think digital first wherever possible. Digital innovation will improve lives and productivity, leading to a healthier, happier and more prosperous county.

"We are fortunate to have this type of expertise here and look forward to building on this partnership to make this county a global digital leader."