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The Future is Here – Shaping the landscape of Digital Skills

31 Mar 2023

This week we joined leaders in the tech and digital sectors at the Digital City Festival to host a panel discussion, ‘Addressing the tech skills gap & the role of apprenticeships.’

The annual festival brings the digital community together to engage and inspire each other, and as a headline sponsor, we took the opportunity to shine a light on what’s needed in digital and tech education.

The panel delved into the skills gap currently faced by businesses in the technology and digital sectors, exploring available mechanisms to tackle this issue and how apprentices could help solve this challenge.

Chaired by Kelly Bailey, Business Development Director, GC Education & Skills, panellists included Philip Blair, Senior Advisor at GC Business Growth Hub - Digital, Creative & Technology, Deb Hetherington, Head of Innovation Services, North at Bruntwood SciTech, Aleksa Vukotic, CTO at the and Renée Bell, former Junior Content Producer Apprentice.

Each panellist shared their expertise and personal insights into the issues, bringing a range of diverse viewpoints and perspectives making for a thought-provoking conversation.

Judith Furlong, Sector Director for Financial Services at The Growth Company Education and Skills, said: “We are proud to be a sponsor for this year’s Digital City Festival and were grateful for the opportunity to lead a panel discussing the value of apprenticeships for SMEs and large organisations alike.

“We work with some of the region’s most innovative companies, championing talent development and ensuring that they are leading the way in digital innovation. As all industries embrace digital transformation, equipping businesses with essential digital skills is vital for success and we hope that business leaders have come away from the panel with a better understanding of the mechanisms available to support them.”

The panel discussed the current gap in both specialised digital skills that are required for tech toles and essential digital skills which are fundamental, not only to work but also to taking part in society, and the importance of embedding this into the traditional education system.

During the panel, Deb Hetherington, Head of Innovation Services, North at Bruntwood SciTech, said: “Of the businesses we speak to, the biggest issues that they have that are barriers to growth are access to funding and access to talent.”

She emphasised that whilst digital apprenticeships and bootcamps are a step in the right direction, there is still more to be done.

Aleksa Vukotic, CTO at the, added: “Tech has been a big thing for a number of years now but the demand for it has massively exploded in the last decade or so because it’s not just about tech businesses anymore, every business is a tech business, and every role is a tech role.”

At the event, we launched our brand-new Demand for Digital Skills Insight Report which delves even further into the changing landscape of digital and tech skills.

As technology continues to rapidly advance, it is essential to stay up to date with the latest digital trends to remain competitive and relevant in today’s ever-evolving landscape. This report focuses on the demand for digital skills with insight into future trends in the digital world. The full report is available to read here.

Stephanie Hodgson, Regional Account Manager at the Growth Company Education and Skills, said: “It was great to talk to so many people at the event and hear first-hand the issues faced by businesses in the tech and digital industries. We’d love to invite business owners and specialists who weren’t at the event to get in touch to share their thoughts and the issues they are facing and how we can support them.

“We want the development of our digital and technology programmes to be collaborative to ensure that they fit the needs of businesses as well as the needs of learners.”

Shape the future of our training

Do you want to help shape the next generation of tech experts? We are looking to partner with sector specialists and businesses to create a pioneering new Level 4 Software Developer Apprenticeship to meet the needs of the sector now, and for the future.

As a social enterprise we focus on getting better at what we do and invest all of our energy and resources into improving the quality of our training and by adopting a collaborative approach – together we can establish the best solution.

If you would like to know more about how you can get involved, please contact or visit our dedicated Digital & Technology webpage.