New fund to boost diversity of people working in digital and tech jobs

People from underrepresented groups with the potential to become tomorrow’s tech stars are set to be given new digital skills as part of a push to improve diversity in the digital economy and address local skills challenges.

A new £1 million Digital Skills Innovation Fund is now open for bids from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Combined Authorities for initiatives which specifically aim to help people take up digital roles.

The funding will be used to help women, disabled people, people from minority backgrounds or those living in lower socioeconomic areas to succeed in digital roles such as data analysts, programmers, cyber security specialists, software developers and marketeers.

Research reveals 17 per cent of women make up the tech workforce and are underrepresented in the uptake of digital qualifications. Unemployed adults are five per cent more likely to lack the basic digital skills than the national average.

A new £400,000 Digital Inclusion Fund has also been launched to help older and disabled people acquire digital skills. Innovative projects are expected to include the teaching of basic skills such as booking GP appointments online, using apps to communicate with friends and family, and making the most of search engines.

The fund, which opens in September, will also harness the power of tech to get people online and support the Digital Strategy which sets out Government’s ambition to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone.

Minister for Digital Margot James (pictured) said:“It is crucial everyone is able to take advantage of digital technology, whether it is to learn how to use the internet or develop the skills to work in a tech role.

“If we want to maintain our position as a world-leading digital economy we need to work with industry, local authorities and the voluntary sector to develop solutions so no-one is left behind.”

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With 35 years under his belt in communications & IT, Ian brings his channel experience from BT, France Telecom and Avaya fully to bear in our editorial content and events.

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