The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), whose role is
to boost economic growth across the counties of East Sussex, Kent and Essex, has obtained funds from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to set up a new Digital Skills Partnership (DSP). It’s a pilot scheme, involving the hiring of a digital ‘co-ordinator’ to promote links between local businesses, tech educators and corporate partners that include Google, IBM and local digital SMEs across the SELEP area. 

The formal launch took place at St Mary in the Castle on 13th June, attended by Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Margot James, who told her audience: “We are working hard to build a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone. Through the new DSP we will empower regional businesses, educators, charities and public sector to come together to boost skills and the local economy.”

Google UK’s External Affairs Manager Michaela Neild, who gave the keynote address, formally announced that her company has committed to setting up five Google “Digital Garages” across the SELEP area. 

Dan Shelley, Executive Director at the East Sussex College Group, is clearly enthused about the opportunities that he believes the Partnership will bring both to college students and to local charities and businesses with whom they might interact. There is a constant churn of job vacancies for digital skills, including web and software developers, programmers and coders  –  more than 35,000 in the last calendar year across its own area, according to SELEP. East Sussex College expects to be in the vanguard of teaching new T-level courses from next year, and many of its students will no doubt graduate in due course into this job market. But in the meantime Mr Shelley intends that the introduction of digital design hubs, both in Hastings and at its other campuses, should also serve the needs of local community groups and SMEs. 

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