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Photo caption: College lecturers from the FUTUREquipped project.

College lecturers from across Scotland have come together to produce a set of innovative new learning materials that combine speciality knowledge and insight on smart housing from three different sectors.

The new learning materials are a product of FUTUREquipped, Scotland’s largest college innovation project to-date.

Co-led by the Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI) and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), the FUTUREquipped project brought college lecturers from the construction, health and care, and information technology fields together to work with business on future-proofing skills, training and workforce development.

This included the development of 16 new ‘micro-lessons’ on smart housing, which uses automation and sensor networks to control everything from light switches to heating. The lessons are aimed at developing learners’ understanding of how the three sectors overlap in smart housing, and topics include energy efficient construction, dignity and privacy implications for the use of digital healthcare tools in the home, and ‘meta-skills’ like creativity.

The collection, graded at SCQF Level 6, is hosted by the University of Strathclyde’s Open Access repository Strathprints under a Creative Commons licence meaning it can be accessed from anywhere and downloaded by anyone.

FUTUREquipped received £307,605 from SFC via the Scottish Government’s College Innovation Fund. The project involved over 500 students and 30 college lecturers from 13 colleges. In addition to DHI and CSIC, a further two innovation centres were involved – The Data Lab and Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS) – alongside a pool of industry and education stakeholders who provided input and support.

Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), said:

“Colleges are playing an essential part in realising Scotland’s ambition to turn innovation into jobs and prosperity for the future. FUTUREquipped is a fantastic example of this in action, with colleges connecting with business and innovation centres to develop practical resources and education programmes to enhance Scotland’s future skills needs and workforce.”

Professor George Crooks OBE, Chief Executive of the Digital Health & Care Institute said:

“This has been a ground-breaking and collaborative project, bringing the knowledge and expertise from Scotland’s Innovation Centres to further enable and empower the College sector across Scotland to deliver an enthusiastic and enable workforce for the future. We need to build on this type of initiative, which recognises that the world of work does not stand still and our education and training provision in Scotland needs to move at the same pace.”

Stephen Good, Chief Executive of the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre said:

“The future of learning is changing. Through innovative cross disciplinary approaches we can help prepare young people for careers in the construction sector that don’t even exist yet. FUTUREquipped was a revolutionary pilot programme which provided a legacy of innovative design thinking that allows Scotland’s colleges to build more collaborative education programmes fit for the needs of the future”.