Rob Earnshaw
Recognition PR Business Team

Member Article

Our digital garden is rosy, so why are so many leaving?

By Rob Earnshaw

Across the North of England, we are blessed with a fantastic collection of creative and digital businesses, many of which are at the forefront of their global industries.

Gaming, publishing, communications, technology development, design and more; we have it all, here in the North.

The region also boasts a plethora of young individuals, with the skills and raw talent needed to play a significant part in developing these businesses and industries, creating a Northern powerhouse for the sector.

One would imagine through the coming together of these two groups, that all would be rosy in the region’s creative and digital industries.

However, instead of staying here and building hugely rewarding careers in our region, many of these young people complete their studies and, before the ink is dry on their diplomas or degrees, have their bags packed and travel booked to leave the region in search of jobs.

This Dick Whittington-esque behaviour is creating a real and tangible skills drain affecting those businesses that have chosen to operate from the region, and this can be put down to a lack of awareness among young people of the opportunities and organisations here.

Additionally, our region lacks inward migration of talent from other parts of the country, due to the same lack of understanding of what is on offer.

Yes, there may be jobs up and down those streets which are perceived to be paved with creative gold, but the opportunities are as abundant here, without the additional cost of living issues associated with the South East.

Also, it was interesting to note recent reports of tenants of one of the capital’s much-heralded digital hubs having to resort to dongles and “dial-up” speed internet. Here, we have a plethora of sites with excellent connectivity, such as Digital City Middlesbrough, Evolve in Sunderland, the Toffee Factory in Newcastle and the soon to be launched Digital Quay in Gateshead. Additionally, we have initiatives, such as Newcastle City Council’s Go Digital team, supporting first class broadband access for businesses.

As the Director of the Youth Training Academy, which is based in Gateshead, I have spoken with a vast number of business leaders who have found this migratory behaviour as baffling as I do. So, I am garnering the support of such businesses to launch a campaign aimed at engaging employers and young people to eradicate this disconnection and create opportunities for people to come together for the good of the region and of the creative and digital sectors.

Supported by a growing collection of Creative Champions, who lead a broad spectrum of businesses, from technology developers to publishers and from gaming to branding, the Creative North campaign aims to sign up the support of 500 creative and digital businesses, schools and organisations. Additionally, we want to encourage 150 of those businesses to engage with schools and training programmes within the next 12 months.

Crucially, we also want to create 200 apprentices for local young people and attract 100 individuals from outside of the region to come here and take apprenticeships with Northern employers.

Fundamentally, we want to stop talent leaving the area and increase the number of people coming to the North to join fantastic creative and digital organisations, through the generation of greater recognition of the opportunities which exist here.

We are looking for further Creative Champions to come forward, to help promote the campaign and industries. To steal a slogan from another campaigning group of prominence, we can do this “better together”.

Rob Earnshaw is founder of the Creative North campaign and Director of the Youth Training Academy. To get involved with the campaign, visit

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Recognition PR Business Team .

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