As part of a push to improve diversity in the digital economy, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has today announced its new Digital Skills Innovation Fund. Women, disabled people, people from minority backgrounds or those living on socioeconomic areas will be targeted to receive support from the fund to help them succeed in digital roles such as data analysts, programmers, cybersecurity specialists, software developers, and marketeers.
The Digital Skills Innovation Fund, which will be managed by Citizens Online, is now open for bids from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Combined Authorities for initiatives which specifically aim to help people take up digital roles. The fund will open on the 27th of August and bids need to be received by 28th of October 2018. Grants of between £200,000 and £500,000 will be made available with pilot projects run up until January 2020.
Digital Inclusion Fund Launched
In addition, a new £400,000 Digital Inclusion Fund has also been launched to help older and disabled people acquire digital skills. Innovative projects are expected to include the teaching of basic skills such as booking GP appointments online, using apps to communicate with friends and family and making the most of search engines. The fund, which opens in September, will also harness the power of tech to get people online and support the Digital Strategy.
Minister for Digital Margot James said: “It is crucial everyone is able to take advantage of digital technology, whether it is to learn how to use the internet or develop the skills to work in a tech role. If we want to maintain our position as a world-leading digital economy we need to work with industry, local authorities and the voluntary sector to develop solutions so no-one is left behind.”
Local Enterprise Partnership Network chair and Digital Skills Partnership board member, Christine Gaskell, said: “There are huge opportunities for regions to benefit and Local Enterprise Partnerships have a vital role to play in helping people and organisations develop the skills they need to realise their potential.
“Any initiative with the aim to make more people tech savvy and to bring more women and young people into the sector to create new start-ups and unearth the next digital superstars has to be welcomed.”