Microsoft to invest £1m in new digital learning centre at Belfast's W5
US computer giant Microsoft is to invest £1m in a new digital learning centre which will open in autumn 2020 at W5 in the Odyssey.
The announcement comes after it was revealed in the Belfast Telegraph that plans had been submitted to convert the premises of the Beach nightclub into a digital learning centre.
Microsoft will offer its DreamSpace digital skills experience to primary and secondary-level students in Northern Ireland, with an objective to engage more than 15,000 students each year in the space.
Students get to "engage in immersive technology experiences that will equip them with critical collaborative, problem-solving and learning skills that will help them participate fully in today's and tomorrow's digital world".
Microsoft said that by engaging students in a series of creative and innovative tasks, it hopes to shift students' perception about the role technology will play in their future.
Cathriona Hallahan, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, said that the IT firm were "determined to equip the next generation with the skills and passion for technology they will need to succeed".
"With digital transformation bringing changes to our personal and professional worlds, it is important that our young people understand the role that technology can play in shaping their lives," she added.
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"I'm confident that, working in partnership with W5, young people across Northern Ireland will be provided with the tools and skills to shape, change, protect and improve our world and our society for generations to come."
The centre is the third project put forward since a £17m redevelopment of the centre was announced earlier this month.
Robert Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Odyssey Trust, said: "This partnership will provide young people and lifelong learners with new opportunities to explore the relevance of digital innovation and its application to their everyday lives.
"With the expanding array of future careers that require creative problem solving and more practical applications of knowledge, we are delighted to welcome DreamSpace to advance education for the people of Northern Ireland."