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Levelling up Manchester’s Global Tech Footprint

Levelling up Manchester’s Global Tech Footprint

The UK’s growing tech hub

Manchester’s technology scene has been expanding at a rapid pace. It’s now one of the top three UK cities for global tech talent, after London and Birmingham. The city is a thriving technology hub, making it an attractive destination for tech startups and digital businesses.

Dr Cyndi Banks, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Arden University, emphasised that:

“There are huge opportunities in this city to forge a high-skilled, high-paid career in tech, and we need to grow the talent pipeline, so Manchester’s spot as an international tech hub remains.”

Manchester’s Tech Legacy

Currently, the city has a resilient £5 billion digital ecosystem, with over 10,000 digital and tech businesses, but its mark in being revolutionary with technology advancements began a long time ago.

Manchester was the world’s first industrial city. It was the city where the world’s first stored-program digital computer was designed and built. Now, it’s home to the most prominent tech businesses – employing more than 60,000 tech workers across more than 1,600 startups and scaleups.

Dr Banks expands:

“Manchester has always been this hub that nurtures the greatest minds to make exceptional advancements in technology.
“We wanted to not only play a part in helping the city to continue to advance its international status as a tech hub, but also to make sure that the people of Manchester have the relevant, up-to-date skills that the tech industry demands.”

Feeding the skills gap

Manchester’s talent and employment market must have the relevant digital skills in order to remain competitive in the rapidly developing technology industry. However findings from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce revealed that around half of the region’s employers struggle to find candidates with the required skills to fill their vacancies in digital and IT.

She added:

“When making the decision to expand to Manchester, we could see how important the tech space is in the region, and how quickly this is growing. We need to make sure that the digital skills gap doesn’t make the region fall behind.

“As such, we wanted to make sure that our new campus will be the hub for the next generation of tech talent – to support Manchester’s trajectory as the fastest-growing UK tech hub outside of London.

“Manchester has been home to scientific pioneers like Ernest Rutherford, known for his ground breaking work in nuclear physics, and Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science. It still harnesses the minds that could widely impact our future for the better – we just need to make sure that they have the right guidance and skillsets.”

Manchester’s Digital Strategy

As a result, of the skills gap, Manchester adopted a new Digital Strategy, which set the vision for the city’s digital future. One of the four themes of the strategy was ‘Smart People’, which aims to ensure that Manchester residents of all ages can gain and sustain the skills, aspirations and confidence to fully participate in the digital world.

Part of this strategy relies on creating new routes into higher-level, high-value jobs and entrepreneurship, and ensuring that digital businesses have access to the talent and skills needed.

Arden University’s Role in Nurturing Tech Talent

Dr Banks adds:

“We looked towards this strategy when developing our new campus, to make sure we can help our students in line with the city’s demands. This will not only ensure our students have the right, relevant skills for work post-graduation, but will also feed into the skills gap the industry is facing,”

Arden University is known for engaging with industry leaders to help shape and teach its courses. This ensures the content taught is up-to-date and relevant to current and future demands. Arden University also prides itself in offering more practical approaches to education, so its students are job-ready with the skills they need.

Preparing the Next Generation of Tech Leaders

Dr Banks shared that Arden University’s successful model utilises authentic assessments and ongoing engagement with businesses to develop its programmes.

She adds:

“In turn, this allows students to experience the highs and lows in a nurturing environment, as well as the opportunity to work on projects with real companies to build their experience.

“This works exceptionally well with our STEM students, who have gone on to build the confidence to apply their learning in the working world, which is a necessary aspect of closing the skills gap within the industry.”

The courses offered at the new Manchester campus include: BA (Hons) Business Management, BSc (Hons) Computing, BSc (Hons) Psychology and BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance – among many others.

Manchester’s Tech Future

“Arden University aims to educate and support Manchester’s next generation of tech leaders – who will undoubtedly contribute to the city’s exponential growth. All our courses will offer and teach the in-demand tech skillsets, to equip the region with the skills it needs to continue to thrive,” concludes Dr Banks.

The new campus is situated on 2 Hardman Street, in the Spinningfields financial district. The new campus serves as a dynamic hub, boosting Manchester forward as the fastest-growing tech hub in the UK outside of London.

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