The annual Digital Skills Festival, the only event of its kind in the North, returns to Manchester this month, and businesses and students are encouraged to attend.
The four-day event, organised by digital trade association, Manchester Digital, will run from 9-12 February 2016 in various locations across the city centre. The event aims to support digital professionals and businesses, as well as emerging talent, to help the industry grow and close a widening skills gap.
The Digital Skills conference – taking place on the second day of the festival on 9 February from 10am to 4:30pm at Manchester Town Hall – is held for professionals educating and nurturing digital talent in the North West. And last year saw 180 attendees come together to discuss how the next generation of digital talent would be educated.
The Talent Day – held on 10 February from 11am-3:30pm for students wanting to break into the industry, and businesses looking for fresh talent – offers workshops, seminars, and panel discussions. And last year saw over 1,200 students attend and over 100 jobs were on offer. This year will see the likes of Boohoo, On the Beach, Rental Cars, Autotrader and the BBC return as well as businesses attending for the first time such as The LAD Bible.
The results of the annual digital skills audit will also be revealed at the beginning of the conference. This will follow the findings of 2015 that discovered 80 per cent of businesses grew in the previous 12 months but over half (62%) had to turn away work as a result of being unable to find the right talent, and for 26 per cent of these businesses this work was worth more than £50,000. This year the audit unveils what digital businesses in the North have experienced over the past 12 months, to see whether the industry has changed.
The entire event is a brilliant opportunity for everyone involved in digital, from education providers wanting a steer from businesses about what is needed from the industry in terms of skills, to students looking for their first step up, and digital companies searching for emerging talent
Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital, said: “The North West digital industry has the potential to be a hub for tech excellence in Europe. However, we currently don’t have enough skilled professionals to manage the workload, which is hampering the industry’s growth. Recruitment is notoriously difficult, and the Digital Skills Festival is key in addressing these issues.
“Our skills audit reveals factors each year that influences our agenda for the year to come. And in order to give the industry the boost it needs, we have to get together to discuss what is hindering it and come up with viable solutions. The Digital Skills Festival is a major platform for this, and in particular with the emergence of new initiatives such as Tech North and the Northern Powerhouse, now is the time to be active.
“The entire event is a brilliant opportunity for everyone involved in digital, from education providers wanting a steer from businesses about what is needed from the industry in terms of skills, to students looking for their first step up, and digital companies searching for emerging talent. There’s something for everyone and we are, as always, looking forward to another great event.”
Digital businesses of all sizes and education providers are encouraged to attend the conference to take part in discussions about the issues shaping them and the industry at the moment.
To register for the event or to find out more information please visit: https://www.manchesterdigital.com/events/digital-skills-festival-2016