University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is the first Higher Education institution in Scotland to open an Innovation Hub as part of Fujitsu’s dedicated Education Ambassador Programme for Scotland.

The hub, launched in UWS’ Paisley campus yesterday, puts technology at the heart of education, enhancing learning and teaching. It is designed to provide students with the skills required to flourish in the workplace of the future therefore up-skilling the next generation of nurses, social workers and teachers, among others.

The programme, which is run by Fujitsu in partnership with Intel, NetApp and Ruckus Networks, provides a space for students and staff to experiment with technology in a supported environment.

In line with UWS’ commitment to widening participation, the university will ensure members of the local community also benefit from the hub with plans to support a variety of activities for a range of local groups. This includes the upcoming UWS Summer STEM Academy which gives student primary teachers, STEM-subject academics, industry, and S5 pupils the chance to immerse themselves in STEM learning. Whilst the first Paisley TeachMeet, designed to bring educators together from different contexts to share best practice, innovation and insight into teaching with technology, is also set to use the space when they get together in June.

As part of the programme, Fujitsu offers a course for staff to ensure they are best equipped to develop student skills in a number of areas highlighted as having the biggest impact on the jobs of tomorrow. These include: Internet of Things, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and Big Data, Programming/Coding/Robotics, AI and Cognitive Computing.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, UWS said: “Becoming the first Higher Education institution to open an Innovation Hub in Scotland as part of Fujitsu’s Education Ambassador Programme for Scotland is a great honour. This space will arm our students with the skills necessary to flourish in the 21st century.

Photo: (L-R) Pictured: Higher Education Business Manager at Netapp Mark Rothwell, Education Business Development Manager UK&I at Intel Stuart Walker, Professor Craig Mahoney, Director of Education at Fujitsu Ash Merchant, Channel Director and Business Development at Ruckus Steve Brodie and Head of Education Futures UWS, Lee Ballantyne

“UWS is hugely successful in widening access to higher education and so the Fujitsu Innovation Hub provides us with the opportunity to break down barriers and build confidence in not only our students and staff, but members of the community, bringing countless benefits to society.”

Ash Merchant, Director of Education at Fujitsu, said: “University of the West of Scotland is passionate towards digital transformation and the role of digital in supporting its students – and we’re excited to be a part of that with the launch of the Innovation Hub. A recent survey by Fujitsu revealed that around a fifth (22%) of consumers believe that digital education should be part of the modern education curriculum, which points towards a real need to see education establishments focusing on the digital journey. Educational institutions like University of the West of Scotland will play a crucial role in making this happen – and Fujitsu, supported by our partners, is committed to supporting them in bringing their vision to life.”

This latest addition to UWS’ Paisley Campus follows the successful launch of the ultra-modern Lanarkshire Campus in August last year which is home to flexible learning and teaching spaces complete with cutting-edge technology to give students and staff access to some of the most modern university facilities in the UK.

Lee Ballantyne, Head of Education Futures, UWS said: “At UWS we believe in innovative learning partnerships and through the Fujitsu Ambassador Programme we have the opportunity to initiate further collaborations with partners in schools, colleges, local authorities and industry, to drive transformational change across the areas where it is most needed, raising aspirations and inspiring ambition in our students, staff and local community.”

The Fujitsu Education Ambassador Programme for Scotland works together to help students achieve more and grow their potential further, exposing more individuals to digital skills irrespective of subject choices.

Nick Thurlow, NetApp Managing Director UK & Ireland: “Today’s data-driven technologies are paving the way for tomorrow’s world, and nurturing the digital skills to truly unlock its potential is essential. However, education faces a number of challenges from managing costs, to efficiency and security when it comes to facilitating the necessary digital transformation. Fujitsu’s collaborative work with local communities, to build digital classrooms with the provision of core infrastructure, is a visionary response to a pressing issue.

“NetApp is proud to sponsor Fujitsu’s initiative in Scotland, with ten planned hubs to enhance digital education. Providing more than just a digital hub, Fujitsu offers the chance for teachers to upskill and boost the visibility of digital career paths for students. To enhance the power of the cloud, we need to inspire and nourish the minds of the next generation. This is a step in the right direction for local communities that might otherwise face a digital divide.”

Steve Johnson, Regional Director, Northern Europe, Ruckus Networks, said: “Ruckus Networks is dedicated to cultivating innovation and realising the creative potential of students by helping them understand how networks are driving the digital age. Through this programme, we aim to expand students’ understanding of technology while creating ambassadors for our future.”

Photo: Fujitsu Innovation Hub launch