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Consortium of North West industry leaders collaborating to grow the next generation of tech talent

GMCA Digital Lead for Employment, Work, Skills & Digital, Councillor Eamonn O’Brien says the coalition is working to address a fundamental issue in the region.

A group of leading employers in the North West are collaborating to combine forces to grow and diversify the pool of tech talent in the region.

This consortium is made up of leading businesses operating in the North West: ANS, Arup, BAE Systems, CloudCo Solutions, GCHQ, ITV, Microsoft, Natwest, PwC UK, Siemens, TalkTalk, and the University of Salford. Their aspiration is that by collaborating together, they can make progress on a greater scale than if done individually to attract a more diverse workforce into technology roles, which is critical to ensuring success at the scale and pace needed to support the region in fulfilling its potential for growth.

To increase the size and diversity of technology talent in the region, the group of businesses will focus their efforts on two areas: outreach to young people through education, and improving the skills of tech returners and those looking to re-skill in a new profession.

The first step in the group's activities is to invite students into their offices to explore what a job in tech has to offer. Each session will allow students and teachers to meet business leaders, find out more about the opportunities a job in tech can bring, and dispel myths around tech roles.

This initial event, which is being held at the PwC Manchester office, is the first in a series of in person activities and is part of a wider programme of sustained support on offer to students primarily aged 16-18. The businesses will also be showcasing and celebrating the diverse talent the region has through a social media campaign to raise awareness around working in tech.

For those who have already begun their career, the group will be focusing on how to support people who are interested in returning to a career in tech, and those looking to reskill after working in a non-tech background.

Ian Turner, Talent Director at TalkTalk, said: “As one of the biggest tech employers in the region, we’re excited to be working with others in the aim of making the North West the best place to work in technology. We believe it is crucial to inspire, grow and diversify our local talent – and we want to ensure that we’re contributing and collaborating with others to ensure that, collectively, we’re providing those opportunities which are highly sought after in the sector. It’s such an exciting time to work in technology and it is a space where every single person can make a difference, so we’re looking forward to showcasing the variety of careers available.”

GMCA Lead for Employment, Work, Skills & Digital, Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, said the initiative is taking steps towards addressing an important issue in the region. He added:

“We want to ensure that everyone in Greater Manchester, whatever their age, location or situation, can benefit from the opportunities digital brings. A key part of this is ensuring that everyone can access the very best career and training opportunities and that our businesses can benefit from a high-quality, local talent pool to support economic growth, so it’s great to see businesses coming together to take action in this space - attracting and developing the best and brightest tech talent for the region. Action of this kind will support our ambition that Greater Manchester be recognised as a world leading digital city-region.”

The first of the tech sessions will be held at PwC’s Manchester office on Tuesday 4th October and details will be shared with schools and colleges directly, with the support of GMCA.