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Developing digital skills in Lancashire

Monday, 14th November 2016

Students from across Lancashire are boosting their digital know-how, as part of a project to bridge the skills gaps in the sector.

The Digital Advantage pilot has been developed by working with industry leaders from the private sector, to help students improve their digital skills and knowledge.

It will help teachers and students to gain more understanding about digital businesses, and find out how to get into the industry, as well as giving them masterclasses in digital skills delivered by experts.

Skills needed in the digital sector include web design, advertising, software development, marketing, social media, mobile technology and e-commerce. The new Digital Advantage programme starts this month and runs until 17 April next year.

Ten schools and colleges will be taking part in the pilot. Those already signed up are Blackpool and the Fylde College, Nelson and Colne College, Blackburn College, Wellfield High School at Leyland, Lancaster and Morecambe College, West Lancashire College; and Haslingden High School.

It has been developed by Creative Lancashire, in collaboration with the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub - part of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. The programme is designed and delivered by The White Room.

Manchester-based The White Room provide training and apprenticeships for companies working in or with digital media, from short-courses and apprenticeships, to large business change programmes.

Earlier this year, MPs from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee warned that the UK needs an additional 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017.

Ed Matthews-Gentle from Creative Lancashire explained: "Digital Advantage is part of our plans to tackle a lack of skills and experience in the digital sector, and businesses in other sectors who are reliant on the same skills.

"Digital skills and capabilities are increasingly important in all sectors. Research has indicated that access to digital skills and expertise is one of the single largest barriers to growth - both locally and nationally.

"The programme is part of our efforts to address this issue around capacity here in Lancashire, and also influence the learning culture through increased knowledge exchange with the industry to supply a future workforce that’s fit for purpose and can fuel the local economy."

Creative Lancashire is a service provided by Lancashire County Council through its economic development company - Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL). They support creative and digital businesses and work with all sectors to realise creative potential.

Lisa Moizer from the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub said: "The research that the hub commissioned last year highlighted the key issues in driving a balanced, skilled and inclusive labour market.

"We set up this project in response to feedback from Lancashire employers in the creative and digital sector, to help schools and colleges to equip their pupils with the skills and knowledge for a career in this type of creative and innovative work."

Sustainable skills and employment are vital to drive prosperity. To ensure this happens, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has created the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub.

"This strategic team supports the Skills and Employment Board to enable a balanced, skilled and inclusive labour market, which underpins and contributes to economic wellbeing and growth across the county.

The students will be assisted by private sector expertise, including Don Williams, formerly of Lancaster-based Fat Media, and Simon Calderbank from i2i and Big Knows. They will use their expertise to inspire, coach and mentor the pupils.

Business engagement will be facilitated by Digital Lancashire.

For more information, visit www.creativelancashire.org and www.lancashireskillshub.co.uk/programme-type/your-future-talent.

Find out more on twitter - @CreativeLancs and @LancsSkillsHub.

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For more information, practical advice and support, call Marketing Lancashire on:

01772 426450.