Projects Map

USP College Centre of Excellence for Digital Technologies and Immersive Learning, Benfleet


Approval status


Fully approved

Delivery status


Design in progress

Expected completion date


Autumn 2020

Immersive learning environments place learners at the centre of a full-sensory, simulated learning environment. They use multi-media, digital and IT technologies to create virtual, simulated or augmented learning environments, engaging learners in a completely new, innovative and contemporary teaching and learning environment.

The proposed project will deliver a new ‘state-of-the-art’ USP College Centre of Excellence for Digital Technologies and Immersive Learning between Southend and Basildon and less than 15 minutes from the Southend Airport Business Park.

The Centre totalling 600m2 of new teaching, learning and business support space, will use cost and time effective pod construction.  Each of the four suites will have a full complement of immersive learning, virtual reality and collaborative working environments, which will be utilised by:

  • USP College learners undertaking new skills training in digital technologies;
  • USP learners using immersive learning and virtual and collaborative environments pedagogies in existing (and new) foundation skills, work readiness, FE and HE provision;
  • Other education providers, who will have access to use of facilities through membership of the ‘USP Digital skills partnership’;
  • Local Businesses, especially:
    • Start-ups, as part of incubator and growth accelerator programmes;
    • SME’s wanting to participate in remote collaboration;
    • Companies with a strong digital skill focus; and
    • Companies wishing to upskill employees in digital technology applications.

The Centre of Excellence for Digital Technologies and Immersive Learning will optimise:

  • The use of Virtual Learning Environments and ‘Immersive learning’ in the delivery of courses across the curriculum;
  • Enable learners and employers to experience and become familiar with virtual and immersive learning technologies and environments;
  • Improve skills in IT and digital technologies;
  • Provide a live environment for the development of IT and digital technology skills, such as coding, online and virtual content development; and
  • Provide a specific pedagogy and simulation environment to support UPC’s financial technology aspirations.

The proposed Digital Technology Centre will act as a transformational learning hub for Essex. It will be used to demonstrate how access to digital, virtual and immersive technologies will drive change in the perceptions of both learners and employers in how to achieve both qualifications and professional competencies.

Capital Programme delivery update

Take a look at our update on the delivery of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Growing Places Fund (GPF) capital programmes.

SELEP Capital Investment Programme

£570m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock

In total the SELEP Growth Deal with Government has brought £570m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal (2015-2021) we aim to deliver 78,000 jobs and 29,000 homes across the SELEP area, with the Deal set to attract a further £960m of investment into the South East over the six year period.

Find out more here
Funding value: £900,000
Total Project cost: £1,800,000
Return to Capital Investment