Mayor launches £7m digital-skills scheme for women and BAME Londoners

Written by Sam Trendall on 1 March 2018 in News

Sadiq Khan unveils Digital Talent Programme to help plug the capital’s skills gap and address issues of underrepresentation

Credit: PA

London mayor Sadiq Khan is committing £7m to a scheme aiming to address the capital’s “growing digital skills shortage”.

The Digital Talent Programme will have a particular focus on attracting young people to digital careers, and increasing the representation of women and black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people in London’s technology sector. 

The scheme will work across five areas, the first being the provision of free digital skills training to 16-to-24 year-olds. The aim is to offer industry-approved courses to more than 1,000 people.

The second strand of the programme is events and competitions to help young people get involved in the digital sector. The third is a marketing campaign designed to shine a light on the achievements of young Londoners working in the technology world, and examine their road to success.

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The penultimate focus area of the Digital Talent Programme is providing more support for teachers and trainers to help improve their own skills – including training for 400 people – as well as boosting their knowledge of digital employment opportunities for their students. The final target for the scheme is to help schools, colleges, and universities work with London-based SMEs to help graduates and school-leavers find the right jobs.

Funding will be made available to invest in skills-building projects run by education establishments, businesses, and individuals. The cash for the scheme will come from the London Enterprise Panel, in conjunction with the European Social Fund.  

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.”

The mayor added: “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 to 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.”


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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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