Digital Innovators works with local authorities to give young people access to new training opportunities

By Unnati, Lemarl, Kristine and Imaan

We are excited to announce that Digital Innovators is working in collaboration with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Birmingham City Council (BCC), on a project that aims to increase engagement by giving young people access to new training opportunities to improve their digital skills.

Earlier this year, the WMCA funded a number of training providers so they could offer free training to address the digital skills gap and help people move into new jobs. This has become especially important with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic and with the economic impact of lockdown causing an increasing number of people to be at risk of long-term unemployment – particularly young people.

Despite the abundance of benefits that these fully-funded programmes provide, some of the programmes have failed to reach young people who would really gain from them. 

This is where the students of Digital Innovators come in! The Digital Innovators Skills Programme is focused on digital, technical and professional skills and provides participants with unique project-based work experience and exposure to opportunities for employment following the programme. One of those work experience projects has seen our team take on the challenge of resolving problems and coming up with solutions that will make the process of engaging with young people easier for all involved.

“We’re getting a brilliant blend of problem-insights and solutions, combined with audience awareness and technical solutions, and they are so positive – they listen, respond, adapt, challenge… fantastic!”

– Tara Verrell, Birmingham City Council.

The project involves facilitating collaboration between local authorities, employers and training providers to address the lack of digital, technical and soft skills in the younger generation. Our Digital Innovators student team will address the problems training providers have such as finding potential students that would benefit from the training that they offer, with the local authorities helping to refer students to the programmes for training and upskilling. To help the process progress further, employers could then collaborate with training providers to employ young people who participated in the skills programme. 

The West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council will act as the middleman and provide information for the stakeholders, bridging the gap in the communication of information. Therefore, our team has been tasked with improving the West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council’s websites. This improvement will be done by centralising the relevant information to make it easier to navigate and more accessible to people who visit the websites – thus making information about the programmes more readily available. 

Whilst we are able to develop our skills and gain vital work experience, we will be aiding Digital Innovators, West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council with their engagement with young people and ultimately, the development of young people in the region. 

To find out more about the Digital Innovators WMCA-funded Skills Programme, click here.

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