M-SParc launches Skills Academy to help plug digital talent gap

Continuing to find innovative and exciting ways to help grow the north Wales economy and develop exciting career opportunities, M-SParc has this week pressed the launch button on a scheme designed to assist young people into careers in the digital sector.

The challenges companies across the region, and indeed Wales as a whole, face in recruiting to the digital sector are well known. Bangor University’s M-SParc, working with the Regional Skills Partnership, hope to help tackle those issues by forming this academy, offering people the work experience and guidance to take advantage of the well-paid careers available in the sector.

The Open University estimate that these skill shortages cost the UK £2bn a year and a recent study by the Learning and Work Institute found that one in four UK companies have a significant digital skills gap in their workforce. There has also been a drop of almost 50% of school pupils taking ICT at GCSE level over the past five years.

The Skills Academy aims to tackle these issues, providing opportunities not only for graduates, but for undergraduates in the form of degree apprenticeships, work opportunities for people who are under-employed or who wish to upskill, and those wanting a career change.

There is still significant demand for skilled people in digital roles in north Wales, with M-SParc currently advertising several well-paid roles on behalf of tenants and having recently run a digital recruitment drive to help match job seekers up with hiring companies.

M-SParc Managing Director, Pryderi ap Rhisiart said:
“We, like so many other companies, have seen a significant shortage of talent and skills within digital and establishing the Skills Academy was our response. We look forward to seeing the academy grow and creating an opportunity to young people to be nurtured in the sector.”The first two opportunities are now being advertised:
  • A Software developer role – a six-month opportunity developing an innovative digital platform, paying up to £30,000.
  • A Degree Apprenticeship in Applied Software Engineering, allowing a young person to earn a wage, have their degree fully funded, and gain industry experience.
Both are designed to give essential, paid experience, allowing the young person to be ready for the workplace at the end of their time in the Academy. Members will be placed in industry with various members of the M-SParc business community, giving them the skills and confidence to jump into a future role in the industry, and employers the confidence that they are hiring a skilled worker who is ready to jump into the role and contribute to their company.

Professor Iwan Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University said:
“The digital economy is vital to the success of the region. This latest initiative from M-SParc provides further routes to enable people to re-skill and upskill, so that they can access high level careers, and contribute to the success of North Wales as we move forward.”

Sian Lloyd Roberts from the Regional Skills Partnership said:
“Employers tell us time and time again over recent years that there’s a significant digital shortage and we welcome innovate programmes like this one.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Former Chair of the Welsh Parliament’s Cross-Party Group for Digital in Wales, added:
“These are just the kind of opportunities we need to provide to our young people so that they get a foot through the door in the ever-expanding digital sector. “Having Chaired a new Cross-Party Group on Digital in the last Senedd, I’m keen to ensure that Wales is well-placed to benefit socially and economically from the sector. The opportunities offered through this Skills Academy will not only be upskilling our young people but also plugging the current skills shortage, whilst also developing the workforce for the future.”

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