Creating a digital talent pipeline through a new Higher Level Digital Skills initiative
PeiChin Tay, Principal Project Officer, Skills & Employment Unit at City Hall writes…
Against the backdrop of Brexit and the rapid growth of the digital and tech sector in London, we need to look at how we can work with industry, skills providers, government, schools etc, to address the digital skills gap. We need to provide access to knowledge and training to those who need it the most — we want to target young people especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and ensure that they are not left behind in this evolving landscape. To build a strong pipeline of digital talent, it is also key that small businesses are supported to build capacity to provide work placements for new entrants into the fast-moving sector.
Building the digital skills of Londoners is an important part of London’s smart city work. This week we held a market warming event for the upcoming Higher Level Digital Skills project, that aims to fund maximum £1m, to up to two delivery partners.
The project is part of a multi-stranded £7m Digital Talent Programme under which the Greater London Authority has already funded six providers to deliver free digital skills training for young people aged 16–24 years old that are under-represented in the digital and tech sector.
The unique feature of this project is its focus on the collaboration between level 4+ education/training providers, start-up, micro, small and medium enterprises. As the digital sector is moving rapidly, it is critical to strengthen the dialogue between industry, and the skills and training sector, to ensure that learners are equipped with relevant skills for today and for the future.
This event was well-attended by representatives from higher and further education providers, independent training providers and and smaller digital & tech businesses.
There was a lot of interest in getting involved and a number of attendees mentioned that this type of support has been lacking, and they welcomed government’s support to address the digital gap in a cohesive manner.
Over the next few months, we will be announcing further funding opportunities, including a young entrepreneurs support programme, and an educator and youth worker digital CPD programme.
These are co-funded by the London Economic Action Partnership and European Social Fund to plug the digital skills shortage in London’s labour market with diverse, homegrown young talent.