Cities of Learning 1st Anniversary Celebration

Back in March 2022, Bradford was the first northern place to be accepted onto the Cities of Learning programme developed by the RSA (Royal Society of Arts). Led by the Council’s Employment and Skills Service - SkillsHouse, the programme aims to work with organisations to identify workplace skills gaps and create digital skills badges to connect local people to training and work-related opportunities.

To mark the occasion, the SkillsHouse Careers & Technical Education (CTE) team hosted a celebration event at Bradford City Hall. The event saw employers and educators come together with SkillsHouse and partners to discuss the benefits of this exciting programme, which aims to recognise individual achievements outside of traditional qualifications.

In the first 12 months alone, 14 different providers have created 84 badges and as a result, over 900 badges have already been awarded. Learners are able to access and store their badges through the Navigatr platform: www.bit.ly/navigatrbradford

Attendees at the event were also able to listen to young people talk about the positive impact gaining a digital badge has had on them and how they intend to use them in the future.

One of the young people who described their experience of digital badging said “Badges are easy to earn and we’re already doing the hard work.  It’s just finally being recognised to help get the jobs we want!”

Phil Hunter, Strategic Manager of Bradford Council’s Employment and Skills Service, said: “A lot of exciting work and effort has gone into the first 12 months of the programme and it was great to see so many people celebrating our collective achievements.

“The highlight was hearing first-hand from young people who have been awarded digital badges how impactful and proud they are to have something tangible to show for their hard work.

“We now look to the future and how we can grow to programme further and get more local organisations involved in digital badges.”

The event was also an opportunity for local organisations to learn more about digital badges and to pledge their support in recognising them or helping to create badges of their own.

Andy Murphy, Managing Director of Melrose Interiors, said: “I’ve been involved with the CTE team for a number of years. The creation of this new digital badge initiative is a brilliant opportunity for students to showcase their skills and appetite for learning and to gain valuable experience in a workplace environment.

“Digital badges for completed projects showcase students’ skills and will hopefully give some guidance to future career opportunities.

“Another important aspect is for the employees, we have to understand and learn from the students how we need to adapt the organisation to attract and retain future employees.”

For more information about digital badges and how to get involved, contact the SkillsHouse CTE team at BradfordCTE@bradford.gov.uk or go to www.skillshouse.co.uk/cities-of-learning