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STEAM Ahead with Digital Employment Programmes

11,800 people work in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) roles in Thames Valley Berkshire, nearly twice the national average. After London, Berkshire is the UK’s biggest digital tech cluster with a turnover of £12.5bn.

However, recent research published by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership shows that many local employers, particularly SMEs, struggle to recruit digital technology specialists.

Thames Valley Berkshire is well placed to respond to the need for more workers with these skills. However, to ensure we remain a centre for innovation we need all stakeholders – schools, colleges, universities and businesses – to work together to create a pathway from learning to earning.

The LEP has committed to a range of interventions that will enhance the number of local people moving from education to technology careers in Thames Valley Berkshire. The aim is to reach a broad band of groups and inspire those who may not have previously considered a career in this area, but have the potential to upskill, or may simply not be aware of opportunities right here.

Berkshire-based pathways include:

Worlds of Opportunity (WOOP)

Launched in spring 2017, Worlds of Opportunity (WOOP) is working with employers to inspire and inform the local community about opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. The creation of work placements and ambassador roles for employees allows students to see STEAM as a way to improve their career prospects. WOOP activity includes hands-on career days at local schools, parent and student careers evenings and arranging work experience with local employers for those with a minimum Level 3 qualification in related subjects.

Digital Gum

Digital Gum is a 6 -week course, run by Connect TVT, to help apprentices and return-to-work parents upgrade their digital skills. With STEAM at its core, Digital Gum is delivered by digital experts and focuses on giving delegates the skills employers really need.

Apprenticeships

Thames Valley Berkshire is trailing behind the national average of apprentice uptake: only 6% of workplaces employ an apprentice compared to 12% nationally.

The Berkshire Apprenticeship Service offers free and impartial advice to businesses interested in apprenticeships in Thames Valley Berkshire. The service provides easy access to information on apprenticeship programmes and the latest funding. It also helps employers find the right apprenticeship programme and training provider for their needs.

As an SME, you can increase your training provision to stay future focused, employ apprentices or participate in shared apprenticeship schemes and develop relationships with education and training providers.

By 2030 almost 10% of labour demands will be for occupations that don’t currently exist. Together we can move forward with a skilled workforce to meet those demands.

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