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250 Greater Manchester digital businesses targeted to work with educators to bridge digital skills gap #GMDigitalSkills

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Greater Manchester’s digital and creative sector will require at least 22,000 additional roles by 2035 in order to sustain itself, according to Manchester Digital, which is urging GM businesses to take the talent pipeline into their own hands in a new campaign launched today.

The independent trade association for digital businesses across the North West is asking businesses in the region to help bridge the digital skills gap by signing up as a Digital Futures Ambassador, in a programme that aims to encourage more young people across GM to pursue a digital career and support educators to deliver relevant curriculum and careers guidance.

This comes following Manchester Digital’s 2019 Skills Audit, which revealed that almost a third of digital businesses in the region had turned work away over the past year as a result of not being able to find the right talent to fulfil it.

Businesses already signed up to support the Digital Futures campaign include AutoTrader, On the Beach, Sainsbury’s, The Co-Op, NHS Salford Royal Hospital and Sigma.

Manchester Digital aims to have a total of 250 GM businesses on board by May 2020, through the GMCA-supported campaign.

Businesses can help in a number of ways including: working with local schools to bring the computer science curriculum to life; providing inspiring industry experience days in the workplace; educating teachers and careers advisors on the breadth of roles available in the sector; and knowledge sharing through masterclasses and workshops.

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Speaking of the campaign, Emma Grant, Talent and Skills Manager at Manchester Digital, said: “Our Skills Audit is clear, tech employers feel that they can and should do more. More to ensure young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills to choose careers in digital and technology; and more to support educators to help young people and their parents to make informed decisions surrounding the amazing opportunities available to them in our sector, right on their doorstep.”

“Neither industry nor education can solve the digital skills shortage alone. Importantly, we need help from progressive, forward-thinking local businesses to connect the two worlds to build sustainable, meaningful connections, which we hope will increase retention in the early pipeline of local tech talent.

“By becoming a Digital Futures Ambassador, businesses can help to solve the talent shortage by helping educators to develop and deliver a more engaging curriculum that is also relevant to industry needs, whilst giving young people a first-hand glimpse at the exciting, varied and accessible digital careers on offer in the region.

“So, if you’re a business in Greater Manchester, working in or with technology, whether big or small, help us inspire and develop the digital talent of the future by getting involved and supporting the campaign.”

Manchester Digital is now inviting more businesses to sign up to enable it to reach its 250-business target.

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