13th August 2019

To continue our series of #TechTuesday, we spent some time finding out what is going on behind the scenes of the Hi Tech & Digital Centre. After receiving keys for the building in early July, it has been full steam ahead getting all the high-end gear and equipment installed and will be what makes our vision for the building a reality. But a big part of that vision is of course the students. Delivering an education that will prepare people for the world of Hi Tech like never before is what this building is all about. For that reason, it makes perfect sense to have students involved in setting this building up.

To go through what some of the setup has involved, we spoke to former student, Liam Bottomley. Having studied the Level 3 Computing BTEC Diploma, then progressing to the FdSc in Computing here at University Centre South Devon and then on to his BSc (Hons) at University of Plymouth, he has now been employed at South Devon College as a Learning Support Technician in Computing. He is one of the key people in setting up what will form a huge part of future computing student’s experiences in the Hi Tech & Digital Centre.

When talking about what Liam had learnt from his studies, he said:

“Having wider knowledge is crucial. If you’re focused on software, you still need to have knowledge about hardware because it’s integrated. They work off of each other. With the networking we are doing now for example, you need to know how to code the switches together to communicate in the way you want them to as well as know where and what you’re plugging everything into to deliver that communication.”

Liam continued:

“Having this opportunity to put all those skills I’ve learnt and studied about into practice has really benefited me.”

We asked Liam what his favourite feature of the Hi Tech & Digital Centre and whilst all the possibilities couldn’t be discussed, there are some interesting opportunities that the facilities will enable.

“The network that we are installing is isolated from the main college network. We can still access parts of the main college network, but we can be more experimental without affecting it and we can focus our resources on the computing students that need it which wouldn’t necessarily be available if the network was entirely shared.”

Latest in HTDC development: Screening suite has been powered on and tested with the latest gaming consoles. Full speed ahead!

Liam expressed how much he’s enjoying the work he’s doing and said:There has been a big focus on future-proofing with this setup. As well as being isolated from the college network, the server rack that is being built for computing students has a lot of room for expansion later down the line with not even half of the capacity being used with 40 computers hooked up to it.

“I’m excited to look back and see the next wave of students using all this equipment and thinking… I’ve set this up. I can imagine when I get those moments to stop and reflect, I will be filled with a sense of pride and fulfilment from the work we’ve done.”

It’s inspiring to see such raw passion for delivering the latest and greatest for future students when Liam was only recently a student himself. Having a student perspective so fresh in his mindset as well, he knows exactly what will be best for those studying Computing here at South Devon College.


The Hi Tech & Digital Centre is due to open in September 2019. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information about the Hi Tech & Digital Centre and what courses will be delivered there, email [email protected]uk or call 08000 380 123.


The Hi Tech & Digital Centre (HTDC) combines £8.3m from the Heart of the South West LEP’s Growth Deal funding from the Heart of the South West LEP, as well as funding support from European Regional Development Fund, Higher Education Funding Council for England, Garfield Weston Foundation, Torbay Council, South Devon College and private sector investment. It will be a flagship facility, alongside other Institutes of Technology developments in the country.

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