The College of West Anglia is now a Microsoft Associate Partner College, and on Wednesday 9 March 2016, launched as an exclusive risual Microsoft Academy for the New Anglia LEP region.

The risual Microsoft Academies were formed to address the digital skills shortage through collaboration with Microsoft and risual’s industry expertise, to create a centre of excellence for IT in one FE College in each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area.

CWA is an exclusive partner with Microsoft and risual and this is the only Microsoft Imagine Academy or risual Academy in the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership area of Norfolk and Suffolk. Today’s launch recognises a highly important strategic partnership between the CWA, Microsoft and risual which will support the development of IT skills for the region.

The new academy status sees the introduction of a state-of-the-art learning space with the latest Microsoft technologies, in which staff and students will undertake curriculum and pedagogical workshops to drive the IT curriculum, in turn improving the digital literacy of both staff and students and bridging the gap between education and employment.

As a result of this, CWA is also now a risual’s Apprenticeship Partner College, giving access to a collaborative delivery model to form a direct route for full time learners into apprenticeships within the local region.

Microsoft will drive business through CWA as an Associate College by marketing them as their centre of excellence in the New Anglia LEP region and the college will benefit from the recognition and inclusion into a global community of identified exemplary institutions.

The risual Microsoft Academy is not only hugely successful in addressing the digital skills shortage and bridging the gap between education and the IT industry, it also provides fantastic apprenticeship opportunities in IT. By delivering apprenticeships in partnership apprentices get the benefit of learning at their local College whilst having industry experts assess them in their work place on industry specific and Microsoft focused units. The academy raises awareness to local employers about apprenticeships and risual education supports these employers with taking on an apprentice, tailoring it to their job role and also guiding them on the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy.

CWA is a leading regional college in the delivery of apprenticeships, with over 1200 apprentices, supporting over 500 businesses and framework success rates well above national benchmarks. The risual academy supports the College of West Anglia’s commitment to grow apprenticeship opportunities within the region by offering IT apprenticeships from level two to four.

The risual/Microsoft academy at the College of West Anglia can help you overcome your digital skills gap by recruiting and training talented apprentices within local organisations. Our award-winning approach equips apprentices with industry relevant skills, courses can even be tailored to meet an organisation’s business requirements and apprentices also get the opportunity to be trained in a Microsoft Technical accredited qualification.

Apprenticeship opportunities available include:

• Software Development Level 4

• Digital Marketing Level 3

• Infrastructure Technicians Level 3

Principal David Pomfret said: “This partnership enables us to extend the range of high quality CPD as we gain access to a huge amount of Microsoft on-line learning materials covering the full range of Microsoft products and IT topics from introductory level to advanced professional certification. In fact we will be supporting a number of our staff to become Microsoft Certified Educators.

Risual Academy therefore enables us to extend the range of IT training to our local businesses and community and offers fantastic student enrichment opportunities.”

Richard Proud, owner and director at risual said: “We are passionate about Microsoft. These are the skills that employers want; they want people to understand Office, they want people to understand Excel.

“We are privileged and proud to be a part of this and be supporting this effort and we hope that this is going to be a great success for all of the associated parties.”

Contact Richard Proud for more information or to discuss your training requirements –

Originally published on

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