Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Khan launches £7m programme to unearth digital talent

The Mayor of London has launched a new initiative to find and develop the next generation of home-grown tech talent in the capital.

The scheme, to launch at Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London, aims to inspire young people to join London’s booming digital, tech and creative industries.

Khan hopes the programme will help tackle the under-representation of women and BAME (Black Asian & Minority Ethnic) Londoners in the sector.

At the launch, a free creative careers event curated by ERIC Festival, young Londoners were able to meet and network with a variety of leading businesses – including Google, Amazon and Bloomberg – as well as free training workshops funded through the Mayor’s scheme.

As a major step towards fulfilling his manifesto pledge to create a tech talent pipeline in the capital, the Mayor has committed £7m to this scheme as part of his Skills for Londoners programme. 

The programme, funded through London Enterprise Panel and co-funded by the European Social Fund, will offer free industry-approved digital skills training to more than 1,000 young people. 

From coding and web development to digital marketing and visual effects, the training courses will equip the next generation of Londoners with the digital skills the capital’s employers need.

A new marketing campaign focusing on some of London’s young ‘Digital Pioneers’ will inspire and engage young Londoners through their journeys into the digital and tech sector and shine a light on the huge range of opportunities available in London’s digital economy.

The programme will also offer training for 400 teachers and training providers to improve their digital skills and confidence.

Khan said: “London’s thriving digital and tech sector is a world leader. From start-up companies to household names, there’s a huge range of home-grown and international companies here.

“But we need to provide all Londoners with the opportunity to succeed in this industry, particularly women and Londoners of a BAME background who have been under-represented in these fields for too long.

“I’ve been clear about my ambition to make London the world’s leading Smart City, and to provide the next generation of Londoners with the digital skills employers need will help our tech sector flourish. 

“By investing in this new programme and funding free digital skills training, we can encourage more young people to consider a career in tech and fulfil their potential.”

Natalie Campbell, co-founder of A Very Good Company and member of the London Enterprise Panel, said: “We know that tech is the fastest growing industry in the UK. 

“90% of new job roles need digital skills, not just in the tech and digital fields but in the music industry, health care and charities too. Employers tell us how important digital skills are to them and how difficult they are finding it to fill these roles. 

“The Mayor’s Digital Talent programme provides an exciting opportunity for young Londoners to gain the skills and experience they need to achieve their dream job or put their business idea into practice.“