News - 15 March 2019

Digital skills help for under-represented groups following D2N2 and partners’ grant bid

Women returning to work and people on the Autism Spectrum are among groups set to benefit from a new £324,000 digital skills development programme, in the East Midlands.

A £280,000 ‘Digital Skills Innovation Fund’ grant (via the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) has been awarded following a joint bid by Nottingham City Council; the D2N2Greater Lincolnshire and Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs); and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership. The partners are also investing £44,000 in the initiative.

The money will fund training courses, workshops and seminars led by digital tech experts – alongside a mentoring scheme tailored to businesses’ needs – to improve digital and online skills amongst groups under-represented in the sector. This programme will particularly focus on helping women re-entering the workplace after a break and people on the Autism Spectrum, to improve their employability and job opportunities.

The aim is to help people obtain the skills to take up careers as data analysts, programmers, software developers and digital marketeers.

Women make up only around a fifth of the ‘tech’ workforce and unemployed adults are more likely to lack basic digital skills than the national average, said the Government on announcing the funding today (March 15).

Nottingham City Council was the lead local authority on the successful bid, and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership the lead LEP, as the Nottingham area has a strong digital sector – it is one of D2N2’s primary sectors – and there is high demand for people with digital skills. The project is seen as a way of helping increase the number of potential employees with digital skills, widening their career opportunities and ensuring companies can find employees with the right skills to enable their businesses to grow.

Autism East Midlands based in Creswell, Nottinghamshire, is a partner in the project.

Lindsay Wetton, Senior Programme Manager (Business Engagement) for the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership said: “D2N2 are thrilled to be leading this exciting innovative digital skills project across the area, in collaboration with Sheffield City Region.

“The focus is to support women and people with Autism into digital skilled jobs; through workshops, work experience and jobs.”

Other recipients announced today as also sharing a total of £1.2million from the Digital Skills Innovation Fund were the West of England Combined Authority, the Lancashire LEP and the Heart of the South West LEP.

For more information on today’s Government announcement see the Gov.UK website web link at www.gov.uk/government/news/coding-to-be-taught-in-prison-to-help-offenders-return-to-the-world-of-work

Further information on the successful Digital Skills Innovation Fund bid on Nottingham City Council’s website at CLICK LINK HERE.

Media wanting more information about the D2N2 LEP can contact D2N2 Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or email: sean.kirby@d2n2lep.org

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