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Khan’s £7m scheme to inspire ‘next generation of digital talent’ amid skills gap

London mayor Sadiq Khan is determined to tackle the growing shortage of digital skills in the capital through a new scheme that aims to inspire young people to form part of the next generation of tech talent.

The initiative, set to launch today, will try to motivate youngsters to join the booming digital, tech and creative industries in London through a series of opportunities to network with leading businesses in the sector, including giants like Google, Amazon and Bloomberg.

As well as a free creative careers event today, the mayor will provide free training workshops funded through the £7m scheme – which forms a key part of his manifesto pledge to create a ‘tech talent pipeline.’

The fund will also be used to offer free industry-approved digital skills training to more than 1,000 young people – from coding and web development to digital marketing and visual effects – and training for 400 teachers in order to boost their digital confidence.

There will be a particular focus on attracting underrepresented sections of the population, such as women and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

“London’s thriving digital and tech sector is a world leader. From start-up companies to household names, there’s a huge range of home-grown and international companies here,” said Khan.

“But we need to provide all Londoners with the opportunity to succeed in this industry, particularly women and Londoners of a BAME background who have been under-represented in these fields for too long.

“I’ve been clear about my ambition to make London the world’s leading smart city, and to provide the next generation of Londoners with the digital skills employers need will help our tech sector flourish.”

According to Natalie Campbell, a member of the London Enterprise Panel, 90% of new jobs require digital skills, even if they’re not part of tech fields specifically – such as the music industry, healthcare and charities.

“The mayor’s Digital Talent programme provides an exciting opportunity for young Londoners to gain the skills and experience they need to achieve their dream job or put their business idea into practice,” she added.


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