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GMCA and Manchester Digital launch programme to help people career switch into tech

GMCA and Manchester Digital

Manchester Digital (@McrDig) has teamed up with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (@GMCAdigital) for an initiative set to advise and inform anyone looking to switch to a digital career – whether they’re from the region or the rest of the UK.

The ‘Switch to Digital careers week’ will educate people who have been impacted by the 730,000+ UK-wide job cuts as a result of COVID-19 on how they can use their experience in other roles and sectors to secure a role in digital or technology.

The week-long, online event aims to encourage personal development around identifying and applying transferable skills, as well as building confidence to make the switch and will feature speakers and events from Microsoft, Code Nation, Co-op Digital and AutoTrader.

There are currently around 100,000 people employed in digital roles in Manchester and investors ploughed £600m into North West tech firms in 2019 – making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the region. Plus, latest figures from Tech Nation revealed that advertised vacancies in the UK’s digital sector grew by 36% from June – August 2020.

Coinciding with the end of the furlough scheme, the event will bring together individuals and businesses from across the sector to share information and actionable advice about the industry, pathways into it, available job roles and the skills employers are looking for.

It will also feature a speed mentoring event, giving attendees the opportunity to come face to face and ask advice from people of all levels already working within the industry.

Microsoft, which in June launched its initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed in a COVID-19 recovery, will also be hosting a session on self-learning.

The event has been created in conjunction with the National Careers Service and Job Centre Plus and will run exclusively online from 5th – 9th October, with events running every afternoon. To make the event as accessible as possible, attendees will be able to join the sessions of their choosing – whether that’s just one, or all of them. 

Katie Gallagher, managing director of Manchester Digital, said:

“COVID-19 has permanently changed the way we do business and the impact on some industries will be permanent. Whilst this and the subsequent economic downturn will mean that many people lose their jobs it has also created further opportunities in the digital and tech sector. Whilst the picture is nuanced and not the case for every digital and tech business, there is still demand for people with strong digital skills. The sudden move to remote working and the need for companies to shift operations online will also add to that demand over the next few years.

“However, not many people know how their existing skills can transfer to a role in digital tech. For example, you might be interested in psychology and human behaviour, which could make you great for a UX role, or enjoy English and make a great digital copywriter. So, we’ll be shining a spotlight on some of these roles over the course of the week, with the ultimate aim of giving people the confidence to make the switch and build a successful career in digital tech.”

Sean Fielding, GMCA’s lead for employment, skills and digital, added:

“In Greater Manchester we are working hard to address the immediate digital skills shortage and are working with employers to diversify and grow their workforce. The Switch to Digital careers week will be an excellent opportunity for people considering a career change to find out more about working in the digital sector and the career pathways available to them across Greater Manchester.”

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