Spotlight on the digital skills gap with summit

Billy Webber

Spotlight on the digital skills gap with summit

Sunderland Software City and The Education Foundation are hosting the first Digital Skills Summit in Sunderland.

The summit will bring together key representatives from the tech industry, education and policy makers to discuss, debate and action the main priorities for tackling the digital skills gap in the North East of England on 20th June. 

The UK’s digital skills crisis has been widely highlighted over the last few years, with increased competition for skilled workers and a shortage of digital talent entering the sector cited as a major risk to the country’s productivity. 

The Tech Nation Report 2017 found that the technical skills shortage was an increasing challenge for tech firms in the North East, with employers stating that finding employees with the right skills was the biggest barrier to growth.

The summit will feature keynote speeches from Shahneila Saeed, Director of education project Digital Schoolhouse and Head of Education for games industry network UKIE and Apprentice winner and founder of youth entrepreneurship charity the Bright Ideas Trust Tim Campbell MBE as well as panels with representatives from the North East LEP, the region’s universities, local tech SMEs and sector support body Campus North addressing topics such as encouraging more children to engage with STEM topics, attracting talent to the region and short-term solutions to the digital skills deficit. 

The event will also feature talks from Edtech start-ups with products and services to help embed digital skills into school and home-based learning. 

At the event businesses will be asked to pledge hours in which they will be asked to work with schools, colleges and digital training providers to help educate more young people about careers in the tech sector, host visits and events and contribute to regional initiatives to help narrow the digital skills gap. 

Sunderland Software City aim to ‘raise’ 200 hours-worth of support at the event, which will be redeemed through an annual engagement programme delivered by the organisation and its partners. 

Billy Webber, COO at Sunderland Software City said: “The event will focus on learning from successes, addressing challenges, identifying key action points and working together to ensure the North East leads the way on bridging the digital skills gap and future proofing the talent pipeline for this growing and economically vital sector.

“We are urging anyone who works in the tech sector or education to attend and contribute their time, knowledge and experience to a collaborative action plan to tackle this challenge.”