The government has injected £18m into The Tech Partnership to bolster the UK’s digital skills development through new education and skills opportunities.
The funding, announced by David Willetts, minister of state for universities and science, will be added to the £11.5m private investment pot that The Tech Partnership has already built up.
The Tech Partnership is a network of employers that aim to create the skills needed to grow the global digital economy.
Founding members include Cisco, BT, Capgemini, Tata Consultancy Services, Telefonica/O2, Accenture, HP, IBM and National Grid. The employers were successful in securing the funding after The Tech Partnership bid for the government’s Employer Ownership of Skills pilot fund (EOP).
Speaking at the UK Science Park Association conference in Birmingham in July, Willetts said: “The new Tech Partnership is the latest example of employer-owned industrial partnerships, enabling top employers to take the lead in addressing their skills needs.
“Our £18m investment will help support the partnership’s work to deliver a range of new employer-led developments, including support for careers advice, new massive open online courses, industry-accredited apprenticeships and ‘industry gold’ degrees. The creation of new tech hubs will also help to propel growth in specific skills areas such as cyber security and big data.”
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Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco, and chair of The Tech Partnership, said: “The Tech Partnership is delighted to have backing from government. I’m thrilled that, together, we will ignite young people’s passion for technology and create a generation that is truly prepared for a digital world. We will, through new apprenticeship and degree programmes, inspire young talent into the workforce of the future where the potential of technology is life-changing.
“With the first-ever scheme of training grants for our sector, we will support employers willing to invest more in the strategically important digital skills the nation will rely on in the future.”
Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said: “This is a unique opportunity to change the face of the nation’s tech skills, and to address critical issues that are holding back the economy – including the gender imbalance, the need to attract so many more young people into technology careers, and serious digital skills shortages.
“The development of The Tech Partnership enables the work of e-skills UK to be accelerated and brought together more cohesively with sector-valued activity right across the economy.”
By 2020 The Tech Partnership aims to:
- Shift the gender balance: securing a 50:50 gender balance in entry-level tech jobs will expand the pool of talent entering the sector.
- Inspire young people: establishing digital careers within the top quartile of desirable jobs in the view of 16 to 21-year-olds will boost tech skills.
- Increase job opportunities: doubling the rate of recruitment from schools and universities will develop a pipeline of home-grown talent to support economic growth.