Stronger Hereford is delighted to announce the opening of the Digital Skills Centre at Hereford College of Arts, one of our fifteen trailblazing projects set to transform the city.

The new studios provide industry-best facilities for students, partner schools and evening classes – and a base for two new degree courses Games Design and Digital Content Creation. Designed by award-winning Herefordshire architect Kate Darby and with building work completed by Hereford contractors CJ Bayliss, the Digital Skills Centre is a sustainable, healthy studio space that lets students take their digital design work to the next level with industry-quality hardware.

Located the heart of HCA’s degree campus on College Road the ambitious retrofit project has been designed to look, feel and work like a professional creative studio. Kate Darby said: “The Courtyard Studio has been refurbished to create a contemporary, exemplar low carbon environment.

“Sustainability has been a consideration throughout the design and construction and the seating fabric, for example, is 100% recycled polyester and includes ocean-salvaged plastics. The Courtyard Studio is a Net Zero Carbon space maximising the benefits of daylight and natural ventilation and no longer using fossil fuels as the energy source, adding PV panels tothe roof to offset all the energy consumed.”

The new facilities are equipped with top-end kit to support extraordinary design work – from new iMacs, to high-powered, dual-monitor gaming PCs to industry-quality large-scale printing. While all HCA students will be able to work and collaborate in the Digital Skills Studios, the facility will help provide a platform for homegrown games designers and content creators to launch their own careers in the creative industries. Both new degrees are the first of their kind locally and will give students the skills and industry insight to turn their passion and creativity into a career.

This investment in the city’s innovation and creative talent is part of a £22.4m package of 15 trailblazing projects transforming Hereford, making it a better place to live, learn, work and visit by 2025.

HCA will also be using the studio space to enrich its outreach offer to local schools and colleges, and the college is researching new short course opportunities where the studio space can be used to support the professional development of the local creative and business community.

HCA principal Abigail Appleton said: “Creative digital skills open the door to a host of careers and professional development within the creative industries and far beyond. The new facilities will allow us to broaden opportunities for local students as well attract new students into Hereford.

“It is enormously exciting to be able to offer facilities of such outstanding quality and to know that the impact of the Digital Skills Centre will be further amplified by our collaboration with Stronger Hereford partners and others including Rural Media and NMITE.

In the UK, more than 2.3m jobs have been created by the creative industries since June 2020, with creative businesses making up nearly 21% of all UK businesses. These facilities are an important launchpad for the next generation of creative talent locally, and provide key specialist facilities for two of the fastest-growing areas in the sector – games design and digital content creation.

The Digital Skills Centre will be open to the public as part of HCA’s annual Degree Show, which runs from Saturday 8 June – 15 June (closed Sunday). Anyone interested in finding out more about HCA’s new degrees, or any other courses on offer can reach out via – or book on to a Degree Level Open Event on Saturday 8 June 2024.