The North East's collaborative culture has an essential role to play in the economic recovery from Coronavirus

Written on: 26 May 2020

Written by: Frances Hardcastle

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In the North East, we pride ourselves on being friendly. We smile at strangers, chat to our neighbours, and are usually willing to lend a hand. This same attitude filters into the way we do business. As a region, we love to work collaboratively, crossing boundaries and finding common ground within and beyond the digital tech sector. 

Organisations such as Dynamo, Digital Union and the Innovation Supernetwork bring people together. Meanwhile, projects like Newcastle Helix, Creative Fuse North East, and Middlesbrough's DigitalCity initiative have helped facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas between research, education and industry.

Before Covid-19, the North East's digital tech sector was truly thriving. It was the fastest growing tech cluster outside of London; home to 3,000 digital and tech businesses, which employed 35,000 people and generated over £3bn.

While the extent of the Coronavirus disruption to the regional economy is currently unknown, one thing remains clear - if we are going to recover, we're going to need to channel this collaborative spirit and work together across organisations and across generations.

At Baltic Apprenticeships, we're excited to have partnered with RAW Digital Training to co-deliver the RAW Digital Talent Academy. This fully-funded pre-apprenticeship training is a supercharged package of skills, knowledge and support for young people aged 16-24. It will have a serious impact on the talent pipeline here, supporting the growing and evolving needs of businesses within the North East's tech sector.

Apprenticeship programmes have an important role to play in our region's economic recovery. Before Coronavirus, our region reported a skills gap higher than the national average, while 30% of creative, digital and tech businesses considered access to appropriately skilled labour to be a problem. These stats sit alongside the highest levels of youth unemployment in England.

We need to turn this around, and as a region we've got the passion and capability to make it happen. By working with employers to identify their digital skills gaps and creating high quality hands-on training opportunities for our young people, we can fuel the next generation of software developers, digital marketers and IT infrastructure technicians, grown in the North East with the passion it takes to help our region thrive.

Apprentices are highly driven young people who can bring new ideas, knowledge, energy and enthusiasm to your organisation. As they progress along their training programme, our apprentices develop into highly effective employees who feel nurtured and valued within their workplace - leading to high rates of retention and employer satisfaction.

For employers, the benefits are clear. Working either in tandem with or as an alternative to your existing recruitment strategies, hiring an apprentice is a low-cost way of increasing your workforce capacity in the short term, while developing a long-term pipeline of amazing in-house talent.

As we make our way through the Coronavirus crisis, the future is economically uncertain. But if we are to succeed, we will do so as a region; by working collaboratively and by empowering the next generation to determine the future of tech in the North East.

We're always happy to work with forward-thinking North East businesses to understand their needs, help them develop a skills pipeline plan and deliver on our promise of superstar talent via our collaborative RAW Digital Training Academy. If you'd like to know more, please get in touch with our team.

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