The tech sector in inner East London is booming, but digital employers are facing
a shortage of skilled workers. If the skills gap is not addressed, London’s economy
will suffer. At the same time, young people who live in the area struggle to break into
the digital industries on their doorstep: they are not exposed to the opportunities
on offer in the digital economy and lack the right education and skills.
But we have identified over 60 Digital Learning Programmes throughout
inner East London – groups and organisations who operate beyond the
scope of traditional school and college courses. This young, fast growing
community can help young people overcome the barriers to entry into the
digital world, and ultimately find work in the sector.
Working with a large group of partners, Centre for London has developed
the Connecting Tech City initiative. It is a collaboration between digital
companies, sector bodies, local authorities, Digital Learning Programmes
and schools aimed at developing these programmes to widen young East
Londoners’ opportunities to learn digital skills.
The project aims to radically increase the number of young East Londoners
developing digital skills and securing a future in the local digital economy.
It is motivated by a desire to improve the life chances of local young people
and help the digital economy by increasing the supply of people with the
skills its needs.
Connecting Tech City Has Three Interconnected
strands. It Aims:
To support and grow networks of organisations, including companies,
schools, colleges, charities, social enterprises and local authorities,
committed to creating a more inclusive digital cluster, and promote
collaboration between them.
To create a digital platform, wearedotdotdot, that would serve as a guide
to the East London digital economy and a directory of the opportunities
within. The platform is aimed first and foremost at helping East London's
And it has conducted research to try to answer the question: what more can be
done to develop and engage local digital talent and help local young
people find work in Tech City?
While the Connecting Tech City initiative has focused firmly on inner East
London, we hope that it will have wider application – that lessons learned
from it will be useful to digital clusters elsewhere in the UK and beyond,
and even perhaps to other economic sectors facing similar challenges.