In a bid to tackle the growing digital skills gap in the capital, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a ?7m initiative to find and develop home-grown tech talent. The Mayor?s Digital Talent Programme hopes to encourage young people to join tech, digital and creative industries, and will also focus on tackling the under-representation of women and BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) Londoners in the sector. The programme is funded through London Enterprise Panel and co-funded by the European Social Fund. It will offer free industry-approved digital skills training to more than 1,000 young people, and will cover topics such as coding, web development, digital marketing and visual effects. In addition, the programme will offer training for 400 teachers and training providers to improve their digital skills. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ?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. ?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. By investing in this new programme and funding free digital skills training, we can encourage more young people to consider a career in tech and fulfil their potential.? Natalie Campbell, Co-Founder of A Very Good Company and member of the London Enterprise Panel, said: ?We know that tech is the fastest growing industry in the UK. 90 per cent of new job roles need digital skills, not just in the tech and digital fields but in the music industry, health care and charities too. Employers tell us how important digital skills are to them and how difficult they are finding it to fill these roles.? According to research from Capgemini and LinkedIn, the digital gap is widening. Around 54 per cent of organisations agreed that the digital talent gap is hampering their transformation programmes. In addition, 29 per cent of employees believe their skill set is now redundant, or will become redundant one or two years ? more than a third (38 per cent) believe their skill set will be redundant in four to five years.
Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.