Businesses to focus on digital skills via new partnership

Left to right Richard Keelty, Head of Google Digital Garage, Phil Smith, Chair of Innovate UK and The Tech Partnership, LEP director Mike Blackburn OBE and Lisa Moizer, Strategic Coordinator, Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub
Left to right Richard Keelty, Head of Google Digital Garage, Phil Smith, Chair of Innovate UK and The Tech Partnership, LEP director Mike Blackburn OBE and Lisa Moizer, Strategic Coordinator, Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub

A pioneering Government scheme to boost digital skills has been launched in Lancashire.

The UK’s first Digital Skills Partnership is being piloted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in Lancashire, in partnership with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Skills and Employment Hub.

The ground-breaking new initiative was announced at the recent Lancashire Digital Skills Summit, an event focusing on tech skills in Preston, at which some of Lancashire’s most high-profile businesses, charities and public bodies signed up to the partnership.

It aims to identify gaps in digital skills provision in the county, encourage partners to work strategically together to address them and attract investment from outside bodies.

The aim is improve skills to help grow the economy, to have greater impact and be more effective and sustainable over the long term.

Google, TSB and Lloyds have all agreed to give more support to digital skills training in Lancashire through the partnership. Google has committed to working with local partners to train 1,000 people and businesses through its Google Digital Garage programme.

Richard Keelty, head of Google Digital Garage, said: “We’ve seen first-hand the value the Digital Skills Partnership can bring at a national level, so we’re excited to be a part of the UK’s first local digital skills partnership.”

LEP director Mike Blackburn OBE, said: “In the last few years we have invested millions in the learning infrastructure through Growth Deal funds and vocational training through European Social Funds and also other initiatives, so we are delighted to have established the first Local Digital Skills Partnership in the country.

“Digital industries are clearly set to be a key sector for driving economic growth and creating new jobs in Lancashire, and this is another example of the LEP’s commitment to improving skills in order to unlock opportunities and realise the county’s commercial potential in this area.”

Director of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub, Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, said: “We have worked with local partners to identify skills and employment opportunities across Lancashire and digital has been identified as a priority sector.

“We are now working across the county to create a pipeline of new talent, support businesses, and establish an inclusive approach to workforce development. This collaboration between local and national partners means we can do so much more to inspire our next generation and address the current digital skills gap.”