As the North of England continues to rebuild its economy around technology and innovation, a group of large employers in the North West are collaborating to grow and diversify the region’s pool of digitally-savvy talent. Among the members of the consortium are professional services firms PwC, Arup and BAE Systems.
The Northern Powerhouse is a vision for joining up the North’s great towns, cities and counties, pooling their strengths, and tackling major barriers to productivity to unleash the full economic potential of the North. Technology in the region is key to the success of the project – and now a new coalition of companies is looking to grow the talent pipeline that can secure the future of the technology industry in the North West.
This consortium is made up of leading businesses operating in the North West: ANS, Arup, BAE Systems, CloudCo Solutions, GCHQ, ITV, Microsoft, Natwest, PwC, Siemens, TalkTalk, and the University of Salford. Their aspiration is that by collaborating together, they can make progress on a greater scale than if done individually to attract a more diverse workforce into technology roles.
Speaking on behalf of PwC, Ben Higgin, Head of Technology and Investments said, “There is huge untapped and diverse talent in the region, and businesses are well placed to find the next generation of leaders. We really want young people to see that roles in technology are wide ranging and there is a huge amount of opportunity for varied and interesting careers. Technology is about making a difference to people’s lives by understanding and helping to solve everyday problems.”
By working with a group of like-minded companies, alongside the education sector and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), PwC hopes to provide opportunities in tech, while opening the door to a diversity of views and perspectives. To increase the size and diversity of technology talent in the region, the group of businesses will focus their efforts on two areas: outreach to young people through education, and improving the skills of tech returners and those looking to re-skill in a new profession.
The first step in the group’s activities is to invite students into their offices to explore what a job in tech has to offer. Each session will allow students and teachers to meet business leaders, find out more about the opportunities a job in tech can bring, and dispel myths around tech roles. This initial event, which is being held at the PwC Manchester office in early October 2022, is the first in a series of in person activities and is part of a wider programme of sustained support on offer to students primarily aged 16-18.
Commenting on the initiative, GMCA Lead for Employment, Work, Skills & Digital, Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, added, “We want to ensure that everyone in Greater Manchester, whatever their age, location or situation, can benefit from the opportunities digital brings. Action of this kind will support our ambition that Greater Manchester be recognised as a world leading digital city-region.”