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Microsoft and UWTSD share vision for digital transformation in Higher Education

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A Shared Goals Agreement between Microsoft and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) aims to ensure that the University’s students are equipped with the latest digital skills.

The University is the first in Wales and one of three in the UK to sign a Shared Goal Agreement with Microsoft to enable the UWTSD to harness Microsoft’s world-leading tools and resources to transform the University’s technology enhanced learning and teaching and to embed such innovation into its curriculum.

Students will benefit from courses focused on areas such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and data science, while also having access to LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft’s AI Business School and technology learning courses, GitHub and industry certifications. It will also allow students to build critical non-technical skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.

Society has witnessed a massive shift towards technology in its response to the Coronavirus, enabling people to work from home, businesses to move their services online as well as enabling people to keep in social contact with each other. But, even before the pandemic struck, the fourth industrial revolution was being driven by advancements in technology, transforming the workplace, increasing job mobility and placing new demands on society.

Barry Liles, OBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Skills and Lifelong Learning at UWTSD said: “As a University, we are committed to providing all of our students with the best possible foundation for their future careers. Today’s students need to be empowered with access to technologies, experiences, and learning opportunities to build the skills necessary to fuel their future opportunities and success.

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“While students still need such skills as collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity, they also need digital skills to thrive in an increasingly hybrid, digital economy.

“According to a UK Government report, by 2025, it is expected that over 149 million new technology jobs will become available in areas such as software development, cloud, data, artificial intelligence and security. Technology is also transforming all sectors of the economy from manufacture to service delivery. It is vital therefore that universities keep pace with these changing environments to ensure their students have the talent and training to support these needs and fuel economic growth.”

University of Wales Trinity St David’s Swansea Business School (Image: UWTSD)

Chris Rothwell, Director of Education at Microsoft UK, said: “The launch of our Shared Goal Agreement programme reflects Microsoft’s continued commitment to Academia in equipping students with the knowledge, competencies and mindset needed to succeed in a world that is increasingly digital and is rapidly changing. We are pleased to be celebrating the agreement with the UWTSD. Microsoft and UWTSD share a vision to empower students and ensure they have the skills needed to drive innovation on a global scale.”

James Cale, Director of Digital Services at UWTSD added: “This agreement with Microsoft will enable our university to deliver cutting-edge digital content to our students in a very simple way. Courses on the cloud, AI and data will be available to our students, so they can be prepared for new roles and jobs now and in the future. That involves embedding a range of technical and non-technical courses from Microsoft Learn in our curriculum to give them accreditation from Microsoft as well as from UWTSD.

“Microsoft and UWTSD share a clear vision and common goals to empower and upskill our students, particularly in Digital Skills, to enhance their employability, support the post COVID recovery of employment in Wales through high level skills development and the introduction of innovative and flexible approaches to learning.

“The University is already utilising several of the Microsoft resources available, including most recently, the Microsoft Learn for Educators Programme which delivers real-world, industry-ready skills for UWTSD students in the most in-demand areas of Cloud / AI / Data / Power Platform.

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“We are also providing all staff with access to LinkedIn Learning, with courses from industry experts helping us to enhance staff digital capabilities and technical skills. The University will also be looking to provide training and certification for technical staff via the Microsoft Enterprise Skills Agreement and promote Microsoft programmes for Students such as the AI Business School, Student Ambassadors and the Imagine Cup.

“The agreement will also allow us to further explore post covid recovery & resilience – providing access to innovative and flexible approaches to online learning for re-skilling and upskilling the workforce post Covid”.

“In every industry and in markets around the world, we are seeing increased demand for skills talent and hiring across our partners, our suppliers and customers,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice-President of Education at Microsoft. “From experience, we know that working in tandem with leading educational institutions and educational systems of the world to provide access to skills resources, relevant industry-based learning content and assessment solutions is a winning formula for students, the workforce and drive the digital economy across the UK.”

UWTSD student using a laptop (Image: UWTSD)

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David concluded: “The University and Microsoft share a mutual ambition to empower our students by enabling them to develop the skills and competencies needed by employers – now and in the future. Today’s students are after all tomorrow’s leaders; they will have a profound impact on our society and its future prosperity.

“UWTSD is committed to ensuring that our students can thrive in an environment that enables them to develop higher level skills and competencies that will enable them to make a difference and contribute to the social, cultural and economic prosperity of their communities.”

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Charity

Tesco shoppers in Swansea help to provide £1million boost to health

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People in Swansea have been thanked for contributing towards the £1million raised for
three life-saving charities as part of Tesco’s ‘Helping you to live healthier’ initiative.

Tesco customers reached the landmark total for Cancer Research UK, the British Heart
Foundation and Diabetes UK from 13-26 September by rounding up their shop in store to
the nearest £1.

The funds raised will now help the three charities continue their vital work to save and
improve lives.

In addition to the £1million donated, the campaign raised awareness in Swansea about
the importance of people making sustainable lifestyle changes that can help lower their
risk of cancer, heart and circulatory diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

This was done with the help of trusted health information and advice, which was shared
to empower Tesco customers to take small steps to help improve their health.

Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Health Campaigns at Tesco, thanked Tesco shoppers in
Swansea for their generosity, which will make a significant difference to many people’s
lives.

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She added: “It has been inspiring to see our customers really engage with the work we
are doing together, and we hope that we have played a part in raising awareness for
these conditions, as well as life-saving funds.”

The campaign was part of the Health Charity Partnership between Tesco, Cancer
Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK, which aims to inspire and
support Tesco colleagues, customers and their families to make healthier food choices
and live healthier lives.

On behalf of the charity partners , Claire Sadler, Executive Director of Marketing,
Fundraising and Engagement at the British Heart Foundation, said
: “We have been amazed by the incredible generosity of Tesco customers and colleagues
and would like to thank everyone who donated during September.

“Your donations will help to empower millions of people to make healthier choices that
lower their risk of heart and circulatory diseases, cancer, and diabetes. It will also help
our charities provide vital support to millions of people at a time it’s never been more
needed, and it will fund research with the potential to save lives.”

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Swansea

City clock to be back in action soon

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Specialist engineers plan to work on Swansea’s historic Guildhall clock from next week.

They aim to undertake essential maintenance to ensure the timepiece – on the historic building’s prominent tower – is back in action in the coming months.

Swansea Council has been waiting for a number of months for engineers to become available.

Cabinet member and joint deputy council leader David Hopkins said: “We thank people for being patient as we’ve made pandemic actions our priority.

“We’ve also waited for specialists to free up the necessary time to do this important work. It’s important we got the right team in to do the job. There are few of these specialists available and, like all businesses, they’ve been affected by the pandemic.

“The clock means a lot to the people of Swansea – and they’ll be glad to see it once again providing its invaluable service.”

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It is planned that the Cumbria Clock Company will begin work next week. They will first remove hands from clock face; its internal mechanism will also go for factory maintenance.

It’s planned that the clock will be back up and running in good time for Christmas. Access to the Guildhall will not be affected during the work.

The Guildhall opened in 1934. Its innovative design and unique features were widely copied in other municipal buildings during the two decades following its completion and the building has proved to be functional as well as architecturally celebrated.

It has functioned as a focal point of local government and justice, is the focus for civic ceremony and is one of Swansea’s principal centres of social and cultural life.

Lead image: Swansea’s Guildhall and its clock tower. (Image: Swansea Council)

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Clydach

Historic canal route set to welcome more cyclists and walkers

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black and blue bicycle handle bar

An historic canal route in Swansea, already popular with walkers and cyclists, is set to be upgraded.

Swansea Council has secured funding to upgrade a 1.4km section of towpath along Swansea Canal.

The route between Clydach and Pontardawe is already part of the national cycle network (NCN 43) and sees many people using it to walk and travel by bicycle. Overgrown vegetation and an ageing surface under foot has prompted the council to seek further funding to make it more user-friendly.

A £250,000 investment via the Welsh Government Active Travel programme has now been secured and will result in a major upgrade to the route.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement and Infrastructure Management, said: “Our aim will be to widen the existing path along the canal and provide an improved surface for walkers and cyclists.

“We will be working with the Canal and River Trust to make this route a safer and an even more popular walking and cycling route. We also want to continue the improvements already completed by the neighbouring local authority along their section, link up with it and maximise the regional benefits.”

The latest funding features as part of a report to the Council’s Cabinet, recommending approval of the scheme along with further investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, totalling £696,000.

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Part of the funding (£245,000) will also help create a new 1.4 km link between the communities of Clydach and Craig Cefn Parc.

Additional investment will be spent on the introduction of locally produced artwork along existing sections of the city’s network.

Cllr Thomas, added: “We’re extremely grateful for the support from the Welsh Government in enabling us to expand and improve our current walking and cycling infrastructure.

“We want more people to consider the options of walking and cycling to travel around Swansea and to use a car less often. Making sure we have good quality routes which link up communities and give people confidence to travel safely is key to achieving this.”

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “We know that getting people out of cars for short journeys to cycle or walk is an ambitious agenda, but if we’re to meet our net zero carbon emission target by 2050 we need to take action now.

“Having the right infrastructure in place is key to encouraging more people to feel safe to walk and cycle and that’s why we’ve committed to investing significant funding in active travel this year.”

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(Lead image: Markus Spiske / Pexels.com)

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