Plans have been announced today (12 October) for the extension of a digital skills programme in Birmingham.
A collaboration between the University of Birmingham, PwC and HSBC UK, the trio state that they will “use their complimentary business objectives and significant networks to create a unique and blended offering from their current programmes focusing on digital skills, with inclusive access for all communities across the city”.
Other organisations from a variety of sectors across the West Midlands are being invited to join the initiative, which aims to bridge the digital skills divide in areas such as cyber security, big data, and artificial intelligence. It also hopes to widen access and diversity across a broad range of educational opportunities.
While the initial focus will be on developing programmes with schools to help encourage interest in the digital world, other areas being considered include engagement with underrepresented communities, social entrepreneurs, and unemployed young people.
“Alongside inclusive initiatives to support higher education access for high-potential students who may have been disadvantaged in their education so far, we are committed to regional growth and the skills agenda beyond higher education, offering coding bootcamps and a variety of public engagement and outreach activities,” said Professor Tim Jones, provost and vice-principal of the University of Birmingham.
“Our technology degree apprenticeship programme with the University of Birmingham, which is now in its fourth year, and the Tech She Can and Tech We Can initiatives, are just some of the many examples of how we are breaking down barriers to support social mobility so the next generation can build crucial skills and exciting technology-based careers,” said Matthew Hammond, Midlands region leader, PwC.
“Our recent news of our new technology hub opening in Manchester, which will create 1,000 technology-focused roles, also reflects the critical and growing role of new technologies to our business and our clients and underscores our commitment to regional growth and supporting regional rebalancing. We are looking forward to building on these successes with the University of Birmingham, HSBC UK and other organisations as they join with us to address the region’s technology skills gap and improve the industry’s diversity.”
In related news: New Jisc reports underline education’s digital divide