Coventry College hosted the first meeting of the new West Midlands Digital Skills Partnership – welcoming major political figures and business leaders to our city campus for the event.
The partnership brings together tech firms, businesses, universities, colleges and training providers from the region, and is aiming to find ways to improve local people’s digital skills and qualifications.
Stourbridge MP and Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, Margot James, as well as Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street attended the inaugural meeting of the partnership.
Principal and Chief Executive of Coventry College Peter Brammall spoke at the meeting on his vision for the future of the digital economy across the West Midlands how Coventry College can play its part in that.
The partnership has been organised by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to address the challenge and help link local people to training and opportunities in the region’s booming digital industry – a sector which grew by over 33% between 2011 and 2015 and could contribute £8.9bn to the West Midlands economy by 2030.
Companies working in cyber security, video gaming, artificial intelligence and creative digital disciplines in the region will require a steady stream of qualified digital staff to sustain record levels of growth in the industry – it’s estimated the West Midlands will need as many as 29,000 more skilled digital workers over the next ten years.
The partnership will also help to define the region’s digital strategy, including a £5m package for digital training.
Peter Brammall, Principal and Chief Executive of Coventry College, which hosted the launch, said: “It was an honour to host the inaugural meeting of the West Midlands Digital Skills Partnership and a pleasure to welcome representatives from the organisations which form it.
“The West Midlands has a thriving digital community, and at Coventry College we want to make sure we are educating our students to the highest possible standard so they can fill roles across the industry in the near future and make a major contribution to the digital economy going forward.
“To be able to play such a major part in the launch of this partnership is a major coup for us and we look forward to working with the West Midlands Digital Skills Partnership in the future.”
Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, said: “The West Midlands is the place to be for digital: we’ve got the fastest-growing digital sector outside London, we will act as the UK’s testbed for ultra-fast 5G internet, and we have ambitious plans to double our digital industry’s economic output over the next decade.
“To do that, we need a pipeline of skilled, qualified digital staff: and we want those staff to come from within the West Midlands.
“The Digital Skills Partnership will take a very local view – developing training provision and new career pathways across the West Midlands. It will make suggestions to improve how we recruit and retain the skilled digital staff we need, and ultimately help double the size of our digital economy to create a sustainable £9bn industry for the future.”
MP Margot James, said: “We are completely committed to improving the digital skills of people from all ages and backgrounds so everyone can enjoy the benefits of our thriving digital economy.
“The West Midlands Local Digital Skills Partnership will help employers plan for the future, recruit a skilled workforce and boost the region’s economy, as part of the government’s modern industrial strategy that is building prosperous communities across the country.”
Coventry College offer a wide range of digitally focused courses, including Level 3 Digital Arts Diploma, Digital & Technology solutions and more.
We also have our own Innovation Hub, sponsored by Fujitsu, which has supported the training of more than 270 students since its launch and is now home to a range of digital apprenticeship courses.
The Hub is kitted out with the latest digital and networking technologies, including games design PCs, tablets and interactive digital screens.
Above left-right: Yanguo Jing – Coventry University, Clare Hatton – WMCA, Andy Street – West Midlands Mayor, Peter Brammall – Principal at Coventry College, Dave McLean – WMCA Digital Board, Kevin Vashi – WMCA, Clare Streets – School of Code Graduate, Dr Chris Meah – School of Code