A new scheme backed by Bloomberg, Google and Amazon aims to improve diversity in the tech workforce
London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced £7 million worth of funding into a programme aimed at developing the next generation of digital talent, in an effort to address tech problems including the industry’s lack of diversity and insufficient digital skills to meet the country’s needs.
The programme, part of the mayor’s Skills for Londoners scheme, is intended to contribute to providing free digital skills training for more than 1,000 young people, with a particular focus on young women and black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Londoners.
Khan said he hopes the initiative will help young people learn more about opportunities available for them in the city’s digital, tech and creative sectors, while helping build up a base of skills that are in short supply in the UK, including programming, web development, digital marketing and visual effects.
The programme also aims to train 400 education providers in digital skills.
“We need to provide all Londoners with the opportunity to succeed in this industry, particularly women and Londoners of a BAME background who have been under-represented in these fields for too long,” he stated. “By investing in this new programme and funding free digital skills training, we can encourage more young people to consider a career in tech and fulfill their potential.”
The programme is backed by Bloomberg, Google and Amazon, which will also participate in a careers fair that will allow them to network with young people interested in tech careers.
London Enterprise Panel and the European Social Fund are co-financing the initiative.
The London Enterprise Panel emphasised that the vast majority of new jobs in all fields require digital skills.
“The Mayor’s Digital Talent programme provides an exciting opportunity for young Londoners to gain the skills and experience they need to achieve their dream job or put their business idea into practice,” said Natalie Campbell, co-founder of A Very Good Company, which is a member of the panel.
Brexit skills concern
Alongside skills training, the programme will launch a “Digital Pioneers” marketing campaign that highlights young people and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields in order to bring more role models to light.
Three in four UK companies experience difficulties with digital skills shortages, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.
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