A new Digital Studio designed to promote agri-tech innovation in Gloucestershire and beyond has been launched by Hartpury University and Hartpury College.
The exciting new teaching facility will provide students with the opportunity to access the latest in agri-technology and precision smart farming simulation. It will give students the opportunity to participate in agricultural tasks and experiences from their classrooms, using virtual and augmented realities.
The simulations allow users to see how farmers can increase yields via sustainable methods, protecting the planet while still meeting the demand of feeding a growing population. The studio is a dedicated student – employee – industry facing space where future technologies in agriculture can be explored through agriculture simulators and VR headsets.
Professor Andy Collop, vice-chancellor, principal and CEO of Hartpury, officially opened the studio at an event where visitors could tour the facility and experience the technology available.
The studio’s development complements the existing Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre and Tech Box Park which exposes students and visitors to the latest technology and innovations as part of the wider Digital Innovation Farm.
Claire Whitworth, deputy principal of Hartpury College, said: “Development and advancement of digital skills and competencies is increasingly important for those operating in the agriculture industry to support and optimise efficiencies and margins. We’re delighted to be awarded funding through the countywide collaborative Strategic Development Fund to support our new Digital Studio. This will provide students with a fantastic opportunity in support of digital skills development for safe and efficient operation of agricultural machinery.”
The launch also introduced ‘The Digital Skills Framework in Agriculture,’ a national benchmark for education and training providers and a reference point for learners and teaching staff. The framework, developed through collective collaboration with partner Landex Colleges and over 200 individuals and businesses, will address the future green skills training needs of the agricultural industry.
Funding for the Digital Studio and Digital Skills Framework has been provided by the Department of Education’s (DfE) Strategic Development Fund (SDF) and aligns with the key priorities for Gloucestershire outlined by Business West in their Local Skills Improvement Plan.
Libby Arrowsmith, Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Agriculture student, said: “When I applied to Hartpury, I never thought I’d be studying in an environment like this – it’s very surreal and a huge eye opener for me – the technology is exciting because it is just so new.”