Tees Valley Digital Skills Board
First meeting date: Wed 24th Jan 4.30pm
Venue: Teesside Uni – The Curve Room T3:02
Agenda spotlight: Digital Degree Apprenticeships
A Digital Sills Board committed to tackling the issue by working together as a region and catapulting us forward. We will meet every 6-8 weeks initially.
As we know, digital skills is of critical importance to our businesses, education, and region right now, and is an issue spoken about daily in the UK and worldwide. We have pioneering businesses on our doorstep and need to have the future workforce skilled.
Digital skills is a wide and complex issue, from the curriculum in school education facing huge issues with the pace of change, to universities modules and lecturers facing unprecedented challenges.
Other aspects to consider, our region has suffered from a huge shift in traditional industry employment, with many finding themselves unemployed and with a lack of even basic digital skills to apply for other forms of employment online. Our region has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country.
In February this year the number of people aged 18-24 unemployed in Tees Valley was 6.4%. Nationally the number was 2.8%.
Digital as a sector is growing twice as fast as any other, the vacancies are well paid, and careers in the industry are prosperous. The digital industry continues to catapult, and be a focus for Department for Trade and Industry to support these businesses to export, and boost the economy. It was estimated last year that the digital skills gap in the UK is costing the economy £63 billion pounds per year in lost GDP, and vast research supports this.
What is the solution?
The digital skills crisis is covered daily, but what can we really do about it? It’s not an easy question to answer that’s for sure. However, we all come across many pockets of excellence in schools and education in the region, and in starting to work together as a region such best practice could be more easily shared. There are sometimes schemes available such as free code clubs for schools if parents join in too, this means also fully funded for the school, but the message is not easily spread, so take up is low. As a simple first step the board can meet regularly to understand existing shared issues or challenges in the region, as well as existing best practice.
As the Tees Valley we can really work to achieve great things, but having a meeting of minds and starting a conversation on the subject of those involved in digital skills, from schools, to colleges, to apprentice providers and businesses, is the simplest first step in the right direction.
Who should be involved?
Those specifically working in the field of education, talent, apprenticeships or with young people, or adults needing digital inclusion skills, who are passionate about digital skills, know the issues, or are committed to change.