New Chaffron Centre for business collaboration

Milton Keynes College Group launches new hi-tech business centre to help address skills shortages 

A new resource for businesses in the city which are struggling with skills shortages has been launched at Milton Keynes College Group.  The Chaffron Centre at the Chaffron Way campus is a new facility designed to help companies and educators work more closely together. The venue offers digital skills training and state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) equipment for use by both learners and the business community.  

The development’s been funded by a £3.5m grant from the government and is one of the most advanced facilities in the region, with two floors incorporating meeting rooms, VR suites, individual classrooms, catering facilities and areas for refreshments and break-out meetings.  

Some of the UK’s most up-to-the-minute AI technology will be available for learners and businesses to try out, including Tesla suits and Stratus Systems’ VR solution – a breakthrough in computer aided design (CAD).  There’s also a Cobotta programmable industrial robot as well as advanced workstations and teaching aids. 

The Chaffron Centre offers space for companies to use to meet and work with the added benefit of plentiful free parking just a stone’s throw from the city centre and the railway station.  A range of helpful courses will be available through SkillsHub:MK, designed to fill the skills gaps that have been identified locally through consultation with employers.  Subjects covered will include leadership and management, digital sales and Marketing and digital and data strategy.   

The centre will be operated in partnership with the South Central Institute for Technology, MK Chamber, the Southeast Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Milton Keynes Council, along with the city-wide artificial intelligence group, MKAI, Biztech, the city’s technology forum, the Open University and Cranfield University/MK:U. 

Speaking at the opening event of the Chaffron Centre, Dr Julie Mills OBE, CEO and Group Principal of MK College Group commented:  

“We see the Chaffron Centre as an employer-driven facility to ensure that learners are being taught the digital skills that local businesses really need. Being asked to pilot something that could become a truly significant national scheme shows the Government’s confidence in the Milton Keynes College Group and we’re very excited to take this forward and help to bring the worlds of business and Further Education together in innovative yet pragmatic and business-focused ways.” 

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