E-learning expertise to transform Sheffield from steel industry image to creative and digital city

Sheffield is bidding to be the e-learning capital of Europe through a purpose-built business park development.

Called the Digital Campus it will comprise five buildings to house the former steel city’s growing band of e-learning companies and experts. And, if all goes to plan, the complex will house more than 3,000 creative and digital industries staff once it is complete.

Such staff will have skills such as web and games design and learning content creation.

Creative Sheffield, the city development company behind the initiative, said two of the campus buildings will be ready by the end of this year. Work on the other three buildings will start next year.

Creative Sheffield said the city is already the e-learning capital of Europe though a spokesman was unable to say on what basis the claim rests. But its investment manager James Wilson said: “Sheffield already has a larger number of e-learning companies than anywhere in the UK and more are being drawn because of the depth of the talent pool.”

In recent years e-learning specialists such as Learning Light and Uf have set up head offices in Sheffield while another, Kineo, recently opened offices there. But bigger players, such as Skills Soft and Third Force, are based in South-east England.

Creative Sheffield is backed by several public bodies including Sheffield Council and Yorkshire First. Next month Sheffield will launch a new brand to supersede the Steel City tag, though Creative Sheffield refused to say what it will be called.

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