From education to employment

Ahead Partnership celebrates two years of inspiring young people to consider careers in digital

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Growing Talent Digital Leeds was launched in collaboration with prominent digital employers, education providers and public sector organisations. The programme’s second year has seen 10,500 individual student interactions with young people from schools across the city at almost 50 events. Since its launch in 2021, students have engaged with the programme on over 22,500 separate occasions, with 90% of those involved saying that they now understand the skills needed to work in the digital sector.

The employer-led programme was initially aimed at young people aged 11-18 but has since been expanded to include students at primary level through to higher education to participate in a range of exciting careers and skills activities delivered by Ahead Partnership, including masterclasses, careers panels, festivals and events. Prominent organisations sponsor the programme including Aire Logic, AND Digital, BJSS, Infinity Works, Netcompany, PwC, and Leeds Trinity University, with additional key supporters including Leeds City Council, and Leeds List.

Growing Talent Digital Leeds is designed to help young people from diverse backgrounds to understand the importance of digital skills for their future careers. Following the success of these events, 77% of students who attended have said that they are now interested in digital careers, up 5% from this time last year.

To mark the programme’s success to date, Ahead Partnership is hosting a relaunch event on the 24th October, sponsored by BJSS. Aimed at those working within the Leeds digital sector, the event will showcase the positive impact that the programme has had, as well as what attendees can do to get involved and increase their business’s own social value efforts.

Jo Fordham, People Lead at BJSS, said:

“Both founded and headquartered in Leeds, BJSS has deep roots in the city and we care enormously about increasing social mobility in the region. Through Growing Talent Digital Leeds, we continue our long-standing investment in the next generation of home-grown tech talent to support the long-term growth and success of the Leeds tech sector as a whole.  BJSS has supported Growing Talent Digital Leeds since its inception and we are delighted to share the success of the programme with the Leeds tech community and beyond.”

Megan Lipp, Head of Development at Ahead Partnership, said:

“Despite Leeds playing home to some of the UK’s best known tech and digital organisations, we know that employers are still struggling to recruit candidates with the right skills. We see early engagement as key for inspiring young people and helping to showcase the opportunities available to them within key sectors, such as digital, which is why we’re so excited to be relaunching our successful Growing Talent Digital Leeds programme.

“The impact to date has been amazing and we hope that October’s event will provide a further opportunity for us to join forces with even more organisations from across the city to share best practice on how we can address skills gaps, inspire young people to consider a career in digital and deliver enhanced social mobility across the city.”

The success of Growing Talent Digital Leeds has led to the establishment of Growing Talent West Midlands, which launched last year. Ahead Partnership is now increasing its reach and impact through additional Growing Talent Manchester and Growing Talent Greener Futures programmes, which will be launched later in the year.

Megan added:

“With some really exciting programme launches plotted in for this year, as well as the relaunch of some of our most successful initiatives to date, we’d encourage everyone to get in touch and see how they can get involved in a programme in their region or area of expertise.”

Tony Kennedy, Netcompany UK Social Value Lead, added:

“We’re incredibly proud to support Growing Talent Digital Leeds, the longest standing programme under Ahead Partnership’s rapidly expanding ‘Growing Talent’ initiative.

“As a prominent employer in the region, programmes like Growing Talent Digital Leeds are essential for developing and maintaining a strong digital skills base. We’re delighted to be continuing to work closely with Ahead Partnership to inspire the next generation of talent, as well as exploring ways that we can collaborate further to shape an inclusive, innovative future for the digital and tech sectors.“

To register for the event, visit here.

To find out more about Ahead Partnership, visit here.

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