Prince Andrew opens digital business hub at Barking and Dagenham College

HRH The Duke of York, at the launching of iCreate@BDC, Barking & Dagenham Colleges new digital comm

HRH The Duke of York, at the launching of iCreate@BDC, Barking & Dagenham Colleges new digital communications hub (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) - Credit: photo: Arnaud Stephenson

Prince Andrew applauded the borough’s innovation, as he opened a new £1.3m digital communications hub at Barking and Dagenham College on Thursday.

Students enjoying the new facilities, at the launching of iCreate@BDC, Barking & Dagenham Colleges

Students enjoying the new facilities, at the launching of iCreate@BDC, Barking & Dagenham Colleges new digital communications hub (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) - Credit: photo: Arnaud Stephenson

HRH the Duke of York visited the Rush Green campus to open iCreate, a new innovative workspace for students and business start-ups to hone their skills for the growing creative digital market.

Boasting an IT collection of 70 iMac computers and 30 Macbook laptops, a recording studio and a dedicated ‘Ideas pad’ for developing business plans, the centre will host enterprise mentoring, master classes with industry experts and unique networking opportunities.

“I’m sure there are things other colleges across UK can learn from what you’re doing,” Prince Andrew told the college. “I’ve been blown away by what I’ve heard and learnt.

“It really encourages me to know there ares so many people out there trying to make the best opportunities for the young in the future.

HRH The Duke of York meeting students, at the launching of iCreate@BDC, Barking & Dagenham Colleges

HRH The Duke of York meeting students, at the launching of iCreate@BDC, Barking & Dagenham Colleges new digital communications hub (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) - Credit: photo: Arnaud Stephenson


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“The guidance that a college like this can give young people and the opportunities by investing in this sort of space, to make the young aware that they can make a difference is vital.”

Entirely funded by the college, the new hub was designed by 3D-design student Meritan Jashari, 21, from Seven Kings, through his own company, Future View Design.

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“I wanted to provide a ‘Wow factor’ for everyone coming in here,” he said.

“I’m really proud of how it’s turned out and am now looking forward to entering the industry, because I want my designs to be remembered.”

Principal and chief of the college Cathy Walsh was equally delighted by the new centre.

“Education isn’t about teaching, it’s about enabling learning and this is what iCreate’s all about,” she said.

“The design is absolutely wonderful, it couldn’t be any better.”

Visiting the borough on the eve of next year’s 50th anniversary, the Duke left with a rallying cry for Barking and Dagenham residents to maintain their current levels of innovation.

“From what I’ve seen, this is a borough that is going places,” he added. “I know, from what I’ve heard and learned that the community in Barking and Dagenham are fully behind what is going on and that community spirit can only mean success in the long run.

“I hope you [the borough] will continue to be as innovative and forward thinking as you are today.”

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