Digital Boost programme launched to address nation’s growing digital skills gap

It’s estimated that the UK’s digital skills shortage costs the country around £141bn in GDP growth

Digital inclusion training firm We Are Digital has partnered with digital marketing consultancy, Balanced Impact, on the launch of the Digital Boost programme, dedicated to tackling in-work poverty and address the UK’s growing digital skills gap.

While Britain’s tech sector is worth an annual £87bn and the country hosts 1.56m digital jobs, as well as 58,000 businesses focused on digital, data shows that, between 2011 and 2014, digital roles were created 2.8 times faster than jobs in the rest of the economy, meaning demand for qualified professionals far outweighs the supply.

With the nation’s current shortage in specialised digital professionals costing an estimated £141bn in GDP growth, it’s thought that the programme will provide a platform to help excluded communities and underrepresented people upskill.

Initially piloted in Greater Manchester as part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund, the programme has been extended by the Department for Education (DfE) to allow more regional residents to receive relevant training. We are Digital is also rolling out a version of this service nationally to social landlords.

Balanced Impact will supply digital marketing training materials to assist programme coaches, teaching them all they need to know to deliver nine digital programme streams. Each course comes with guaranteed interviews for jobs in specialist tech fields such as DevOps, data analysis, cloud engineering and digital marketing.

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This is the third round of training programmes aiming to fast-track over 400 people into specialist digital roles, upscaling the Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund, which currently involved over 800 people.

“The digital skills gap has a huge impact not just on our economy, but on people’s lives,” said Scott McBay, founder and MD of Balanced Impact. “In the UK alone, over 12.6 million people lack essential digital skills and the highest proportion of these individuals are in some of the most deprived communities in the country.

“The UK digi tech sector is worth around £87 billion each year and is growing fast. This brings tremendous opportunity for jobs. We are excited to be part of this superb programme to help upskill excluded communities and underrepresented groups and to move a step closer to closing the digital skills gap.”

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