Today marks the launch of a report by Centre for London, which aims to establish best practice to allow young people in East London to connect with Tech City digital businesses
For the last five years, Tech City in East London has been growing exponentially. This new report from Centre for London was commissioned to analyse the growth of the digital business community, the growth of digital learning platforms in the area and how these learning programmes can better connect young people from the London boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Islington, to digital businesses, to can ensure they play a fundamental role in the growth of the Tech City East London cluster.
With the huge rise in digital businesses set up in East London (a tenfold growth in the last 5 years), locating the talent required to grow and scale companies can be a challenge. The report was developed in order to identify the most appropriate measures to provide local young people with digital skills and with opportunities to gain apprenticeships, internships and full time employment with businesses in the area.
The report found there is a lack of awareness amongst young people in East London of what the digital business community has to offer. As part of the research, Centre for London also identified and analysed the Digital Learning Programmes available in the boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Islington, of which there are over 60.
There is an huge opportunity here: local young people who need to be connected to the employment opportunities around them; a large amount of digital jobs; and more than 60 different programmes set up to link the two.
The report features a number of recommendations including:
- The East London cluster should come together to develop a Digital Skills Charter setting out the range of ways digital companies can contribute and what it means for them to be good digital citizens. We also recommend that every company that signs the Charter agrees to make an annual contribution to supporting Digital Learning Programmes, appropriate to their size and circumstance. Contribution can range from simply volunteering hours, to hosting events, to funding support and taking on trainees or apprentices. The digital cluster should gather together once a year to celebrate the best examples of digital companies working to the standards the Charter sets out
- Digital SMEs should actively engage with the Trailblazers programme to develop training schemes and funding models that work better for them
- Sector bodies should use their influence to support Digital Learning Programme growth and help companies understand how they can best support these Programmes
- More Digital Learning Programmes should be included in professional networks like Tech London Advocates. These should promote Digital Learning Programmes as a means to addressing the skills gap
- Specialist digital careers advisors should be created. Based in Tech City they would deliver advice in the surrounding boroughs about Digital Learning Programmes and careers
- Where appropriate Digital Learning Programmes develop and award ‘badges’ to recognise and accredit young people’s digital skills and achievements. Professional networks like LinkedIn should make space for badges on profile pages. When recruiting, digital companies should take into account badges alongside formal qualifications
- The annual OpenCo event, which opens up the doors to startups and digital companies across the UK one day a year, develops OpenCo Junior into a significant annual event
Following the release of the report, an online platform called WeAreDotDotDot is set to be launched in order to connect schools in East London not only with Digital Learning Programmes available to them, but with digital businesses which are looking for skilled workers in the area.