Digital Gum set to transform digital skills opportunities across Thames Valley for Apprentices and returners


ConnectTVT is launching a brand new digital skills programme to help apprentices and return-to-work parents fast-track their digital careers and land their dream job. Digital Gum, the new employability training programme, supported by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, will launch its first cohort in September to deliver #skillsthatstick.

Bringing digital skills to life

During the 6 week part-time course, returners and apprentices will work on real-life projects to give them the in-demand digital and work-ready skills they need – from social media marketing, app design and coding through to VR and SEO. Graduates will complete the course with interview training, a killer CV and online profile, as well as connections to local employers ready to hire.Tech Nation’s 2017 report showed that Reading has the highest digital turnover outside London at £12.5bn. Its digital tech economy accounts for 45,269 jobs, meaning digital skills are in higher demand than ever.

Improving innovation and enterprise

Digital Gum is contributing to the Thames Valley Berkshire Strategic Economic Plan which aims to grow the region’s economy through productivity improvements; skills, innovation and enterprise. Despite being widely recognised as an “economic powerhouse” skills shortages are more acute in Berkshire than across England and can be a barrier to growth for local businesses, particularly High Growth Firms (HGF) or ‘scale-ups’.A recent skills survey by ConnectTVT showed that employers would welcome more return-to-work candidates in their workforce. At the same time, apprentices will benefit from learning skills truly required by the region’s employers. Digital Gum’s aim is to create a pipeline of previously untapped talent to help close the prevailing skills gap.

A new talent pool for Berkshire employers

With spaces in Digital Gum’s first cohort already filling up, a total of 80 students will be taken through the programme.

Louize Clarke, co-founder of ConnectTVT comments, “Talent remains the final frontier for businesses in the Thames Valley. Digital Gum has been designed collaboratively to break that cycle, connecting the right people to the right skills. With a cohort of 80 – that’s a lot of digital talent. My hope is to really create an impact for local businesses while transforming our candidates’ careers.

”David Parry-Jones, Director Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and Technology Lead, comments, “We are delighted that the investment for this project has come from a successful bid to Thames Valley Berkshire LEP for Skills Revenue Funding. Our Skills Priority Statement identifies the digital technology sector is the most important sector to Berkshire in terms its current and future contribution to economic growth. However, many employers struggle to find people with the required skills. This project aims to help address the skills gap by improving the pipeline of tech talent for the next generation of Berkshire-based tech firms”.

o apply or get involved, please visit or connect through @wearedigitalgum (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram).

17 July 2017 Skills & EmploymentEnterprise & InnovationBusiness Support & Funding