Last month saw the official opening of Advanced’s new regional headquarters at Booths Park. As one of the UK’s largest software and service providers, the company took the opportunity to host a discussion on the importance of the digital workforce in helping drive forward the Northern Powerhouse.
The event was hot on the heels of the government’s recent publication of its Digital Strategy, placing skills at the heart of its growth plans. With significant commitments from some of the biggest UK employers including Lloyds Banking Group, Google, BT and Microsoft, the government plans to help support and train the next digital generation. Julian David, CEO at techUK, the trade association of tech companies in the UK, believes 2017 will be a critical year for the UK and the technology industry.
Chair of the Northern Powerhouse and Local MP, Rt Hon George Osborne was aptly invited to the launch along with digital experts and dignitaries representing a number of leading tech companies including techUK, Manchester Digital, Tech North and the IoD.
Organised by fellow Booths Park resident, Firework PR, the event took the form of a round table discussion, during which experts shared ideas on how to close the well-documented North South Digital Divide along with the initiatives which will deliver a technology workforce that is both skilled and diverse.
The discussion was followed by Rt Hon George Osborne’s official opening of Advanced’s new regional hub which is now home to over 150 employees and will accommodate digital apprentices in the future. The company has pledged to recruit 60-70 apprentices in the UK each year, with a focus on providing technical training to help address the digital skills gap and improve career prospects in the North.
George said: “It is good to see yet another British company investing in our town and employing local people. Cheshire is a great place to do business and plays a crucial role in the creation of a Northern Powerhouse, bringing world class talent to the table.”
Advanced’s Chief Marketing Officer, Sally Scott commented, “As a large technology employer, we are committed to supporting high performing candidates in achieving their potential. With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, we have decided to focus this investment of approximately £500,000 per year on creating technology and digital apprenticeship opportunities.
Our pledge to boost digital skills, and provide people in the North West with an inclusive and dynamic environment to work in, will enable us to play a key role in the development of the Northern Powerhouse. We employ some of the best talent across the UK, but we want to help close the North South Digital Divide. Our goal is to attract and retain a diverse workplace designed to accelerate career opportunities for candidates from all walks of life in the North West.”