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Official launch of £2.7 million high tech facilities for students

27/04/2023 News
Official launch of £2.7 million high tech facilities for students

New £2.7 million facilities to train students in the latest high tech industry skills have been officially launched at Askham Bryan College in York.

Around 35 business, education and civic leaders attended the opening of a £1.7 million precision livestock facility and a £1 million Digital Skills Academy.

Tim Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Askham Bryan College, said: “We are delighted to have formally opened our exciting new high tech facilities that will benefit our students and employers.”

He explained: “Individually and collectively, we are all custodians for our environment and the demand for sympathetic management of that environment, be it for food production, environmental protection, crisis management or future planning, will be paramount to a stable, sustainable future. 

“It is vital that our curriculum keeps pace and equips our students with new higher level technical skills that support the region’s employers.”

The £1.7 million precision livestock facility has been funded by the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology. 

Comprising a calf rearing facility and beef grower unit, and a teaching and learning space, the state-of-the-art equipment is being used by diploma and degree level students studying at University Centre Askham Bryan.

The facility takes a fully digitised approach to sustainable high welfare farming. Students complete research and make animal husbandry and welfare decisions based on real time data. This includes recording each animal’s growth and health including its food and water intake via electronic wearable devices.

The £1 million Digital Skills Academy is funded by York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership through the government’s Getting Building Fund. 

The academy focuses on equipping students, and those already in the workforce, with enhanced skills in line with emerging digital technology industry trends. 

The facilities include immersive technology such as virtual reality headsets, the use of augmented reality, as well as environmental management applications of lidar scanning.

During the official opening event on April 19th, 2023, guests took part in a tour of the new facilities, saw demonstrations of the new equipment and spoke with students and staff.

Stakeholders attending included local and regional employers as well as representatives from the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology, York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, City of York Council, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Landex, the Young Farmers’ Club and the University of York.

David Dickson, Chair of York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Place & Infrastructure Board, said: “The Digital Skills Academy is an excellent development. It gives the current and future workforce the tools they, and their employers, need to flourish. York and North Yorkshire has ambitions to be a greener, fairer and stronger economy, and schemes such as these will help us get there.”

Student Fran Shaw, who is completing a BSc Honours Degree in Agriculture, said: “Working with the new technology allows me to develop the emerging skills to take into the industry and gain an advantage to get the job I want.”

The Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology comprises a regional consortium of colleges, universities and employers with a £14 million capital investment from the Department for Education.

To find out more about courses starting in September 2023, please visit


From a press release originally published by Askham Bryan College.


About Askham Bryan College

  • Askham Bryan College is one of the largest and fastest-growing specialist land-based colleges in the UK with more than 4,000 students and 800 apprentices based at sites across Northern England.  The College specialises in rurally-focused education and offers full and part-time further and higher education programmes.  

  • Courses include agriculture, animal science and conservation, arboriculture and forestry, engineering, equine, horticulture, motorsport, uniformed public services, sports coaching and veterinary nursing. Apprentices further their skills through work-based learning with the College’s many industry partners.

  • The College’s main campus is based near York. It has other campuses at Middlesbrough, Saltaire, Newcastle Gateshead and Wakefield.  Visit Follow @AskhamBryanCollege on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and @AskhamBryan on Twitter.

About the Getting Building Fund 

  • On 4 August 2020, the government confirmed the list of over 300 successful projects which will receive a share of £900 million from the Getting Building Fund. The full list of projects is available on GOV.UK. The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country. 

  • Projects funded include:

    - regeneration of town and city centres
    - green infrastructure and clean energy
    - transport and digital connectivity improvements
    - unlocking of housing and business sites
    - support for SMEs and learners 

  • The successful projects (over 300) are expected to deliver up to 85,000 jobs, over 1,500,000 sqm of commercial floor space, unlocking 45,000 homes, almost 1,000,000 sqm of public realm or green space improved or created, over 50,000 new learners assisted, and 65 million kgs of CO2 emissions saved. All projects have been selected by Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Combined Authorities in each area and endorsed by the Housing Secretary.


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