THE NEWPORT-BASED National Software Academy is expanding and moving into the heart of the city.

The award-winning academy, which run by Cardiff University but based in Newport, aims to develop the next generation of digital experts.

It is to expand into offices at Newport City Council’s Information Station in preparation for the 2018/19 academic year.

The move is to accommodate the growing numbers of students wanting to study for a degree at the academy, which offers programmes which are heavily linked to industry.

The academy is currently based at The Platform building behind the railway station, but will move across the tracks to take up space in Newport City Council’s Information Station in the city’s old railway station building.

The new facilities will help the academy expand teaching facilities and provide students with a study space that mimics a workplace environment and integrate industry working practices.

Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering at Cardiff University, Professor Rudolf Allemann, said: “The expansion of the National Software Academy is a clear sign of success. I’m delighted that the University has been able to maintain a presence in Newport and therefore continue to forge a strong relationship between our two great cities.”

“The move will allow the academy to build on the foundations it has already laid and continue to attract the best businesses from across Wales, the UK and the rest of the world.”

The academy was established in partnership with Welsh Government and industry leaders, including the Newport-based Alacrity Foundation, and its ethos is centred on giving students “real life” projects to work on throughout their studies and providing opportunities to engage with experienced software engineers from industry.

In the past two years, the academy has grown its student numbers, hosted ministerial visits and picked up several awards.

In June 2017 it also picked up the ‘Trailblazer of the Year’ honour in the ESTnet Wales Technology Awards.

Skills minister Julie James, said: “Wales is already the fastest growing digital economy outside London, with a tech sector that employs some 40,000 people and is worth over £8 billion in turnover to the Welsh economy.

“Ensuring Wales continues to nurture and develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills is vital.”

Newport City Council leader Cllr Debbie Wilcox, said: “We’re delighted at the decision of the National Software Academy to remain and grow in Newport. Since its launch in 2015, the academy has formed a key part of the council’s vision initiative to regenerate Newport as a digital city.

“One of the many strengths of the NSA is its close links with industry which will help to attract high quality businesses to Newport and the region, therefore bringing wider economic benefits”.