The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has launched a new digital skills partnership with businesses, education, public sector organisations and the charitable sector to boost digital skills across the South East UK.
The partnership will consolidate on existing innovation and experience in the SELEP area, especially in online learning and virtual reality. The initiative is expected to enable education in rural locations, prisons and other areas which face barriers to technology and employment.
SELEP has been selected as a new pilot for the Local Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The local enterprise partnership will coordinate the DSP by becoming a link between the government and corporate partners such as Google, IBM and local digital SMEs to help support residents and businesses in the area.
UK Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries Margot James said: “We are working hard to build a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone. Through the newly formed South East Local Digital Skills Partnership we will empower regional businesses, educators, charities and public sector to come together to boost skills and the local economy.”
SELEP said that its skills strategy has identified an increasing need for digital skills, with business growth being curbed, vacancy numbers continuing to be high and several companies not able to recruit and retain digitally-focused staff.
The local enterprise partnership (LEP) said that more than 35,000 digital vacancies, including web and software developers, coders and programmers across its area, were reported in 2018. The SELEP area covers Kent, Essex, East Sussex, Southend, Medway and Thurrock.
SELEP chair Christian Brodie said: “The South East LEP recognises the importance of working collaboratively with Government to tackle the digital skills challenges in the region. Not only does DCMS provide grant funding to appoint a local DSP regional coordinator, they also fast track introductions and discussions with national industry partners wishing to support, along with other policy areas within DCMS and other Government departments that may have pockets of funding targeting digital skills provision.”