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Sunderland Software City joins forces with the Tech Partnership to launch digital skills hub

A new initiative designed to plug the shortage of digital skills in the region has been launched.

The North East Tech Skills Hub is a joint venture between Sunderland Software City and the Tech Partnership, the government backed organisation taking forward the work of e-skills UK.

The Hub is a ground-breaking initiative to link schools and small businesses, delivering industry-led professional development to raise teachers’ understanding and awareness of the local tech industry and the career prospects within software and digital.

David Dunn, CEO of Sunderland Software City was invited to talk about the new Skills Hub, which will operate out of the Sunderland Software Centre, at an event in London last week to celebrate the launch of the Tech Partnership.

The Tech Partnership was formally announced by Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey at the event, where he also announced the creation of new digital Degree Apprenticeships which allow young people to complete a full honours degree alongside their employment while paying no student fees and earning a wage throughout.

These new digital qualifications and the North East Tech Skills Hub form part of the Tech Partnership’s overall target to provide skills for a wide range of digital jobs and help to fill the one million vacancies expected in the digital sector in the next decade.

On the North East Tech Skills Hub David Dunn said: “We’re proud to be working with the Tech Partnership to launch the North East Tech Skills Hub as it is vital we continue to supply a pool of skilled people who can power the continued growth of tech companies in our region.

“Creating that pool of skilled people starts in schools, so we are currently piloting a scheme across the region which raises teachers’ knowledge and awareness of the local tech industry, allowing them to go back to their schools and inspire kids about the exciting roles available in tech.

“It’s a ground-breaking initiative to link teachers and small businesses, and an important example of the Tech Partnership working effectively at local level.”

A number of digital businesses have already signed up and are delivering training to schools across the region.

These businesses join firms such as Accenture, BT, CGI, HMRC Hewlett Packard, and IBM working together as the Tech Partnership to create the skills and jobs the digital industry needs.

David Van Der Veld, director of Sunderland-based web developers Consult and Design is one of the businesses taking part in the pilot scheme to link businesses and schools in the North East.

David said: “Providing young people with the skills and understanding to pursue careers in tech is vital to the long-term growth and success of the industry, not just here in the North East but across the UK.

“Engaging with children at a young age, educating them about the different career opportunities within digital and software companies and arming teachers themselves with the understanding, resources and skills to enable them to embed these vital skills within learning is the only way to ensure the supply of skilled people meets demand from the industry.

“As an employer in the region I’m delighted to be playing a part in ensuring that young people are aware of the opportunities on their doorstep and securing the longevity of the digital sector.”

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said that the rapid growth of the software sector in the city – and indeed the wider region - meant there was a greater need than ever to ensure a highly-skilled workforce could help sustain it.

He said: “Sunderland’s software and technology scene is a vibrant one, and the rapid rate at which it has grown really does demonstrate that we have the right conditions for businesses in this field to thrive.

“However, the sector can only be a sustainable one if we bring through more talented people with great technical skills and leadership qualities. The work of Sunderland Software City and the Tech Partnership to create The North East Tech Skills Hub is absolutely vital in allowing the city and region to fulfil its potential and maintain its growth.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Amy Watson .

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