Westminster Kingsway College has launched a Career College to help address the growing skills shortages in the expanding digital industry.
Companies including the Tech Partnership and Arcadia, together with a range of smaller businesses and other stakeholders, attended a launch on 11 September 2017 to mark the opening of the new venture, which has been set up in partnership with the Career Colleges Trust.
The Career College will prepare 14-19 year olds for exciting careers in the digital sector. It is being established at Westminster Kingsway College’s Kings Cross campus – which is in the heart of the capital’s Knowledge Quarter. Many job opportunities are available in this area – now and in the future – with well-trained young people needed to meet the growing demand for digital skills.
Google UK Director, Craig Fenton provided the keynote speech, and highlighted the importance of nurturing a well-skilled future workforce. He said:
“The UK has long been a world leader in innovation and is already one of the most advanced digital markets in the world. The secret sauce of leading in digital is not just the technology, it’s the people who shape it. Attracting, inspiring and igniting that talent is therefore critical.
“Career Colleges provide an opportunity for young talent to experiment and grow early in the field and will play an important role in fuelling future waves of innovation and opportunity in Digital Britain.”
Also speaking at the event was CEO of yourfeed, Jack Parsons. Jack spoke about his company’s ambition to connect two million young people to opportunities by 2020 – and has pledged 100 commercial opportunities for the first 100 Career College students. Jack called on other companies to make similar pledges, saying:
“I am delighted to support both the Career Colleges Trust and Westminster Kingsway College with this amazing new digital career college. This is a super forward thinking approach in a world of digital creation.”
According to the Government’s third annual Tech Nation report the digital economy is growing at twice the rate of the wider economy. In London alone, the digital tech turnover is £56 billion and there are 300,169 digital tech jobs. However, the British Chamber of Commerce survey found nationally that three-in-four businesses are facing a shortage of digital skills in their workforce. There are concerns that a future shortfall in the number of employees with digital skills could affect London’s ability to stay at the forefront of this burgeoning industry.
Principal of Westminster Kingsway College (WKC), Kim Caplin, added: “Our new Career College will help redress the skills shortage within the thriving digital sector. It is being supported by local employers who will be involved in the curriculum development and offer students real work opportunities and work placements, with an industry focus.”
CEO of the Career Colleges Trust, Ruth Gilbert, spoke about the expanding Career College movement and the importance of employer engagement: “The Career Colleges Trust is delighted to see the launch of this innovative Career College at Westminster Kingsway College, which will be specialising in an industry that is crucial to the nation’s economy.
“As Craig explained in his speech today, investment must be made in the next generation of skilled workers and I am sure he has helped to inspire the next generation of digital experts today.
“We are proud of our expanding Career College network and impressed by the support being given by a range of employers, of all sizes, across all industries. This reflects the fact that businesses are keen to get involved with training the next generation, which is essential for the economy as a whole. We look forward to working with WKC and its partners on this exciting venture.”
WKC will be launching a second Career College in October 2017, which will specialise in health care. These are among 20 Career Colleges that will open across the country by the end of 2017, specialising in six growth industries: digital , engineering, hospitality, healthcare, construction and professional services. Career Colleges were launched by Lord Baker in 2013 to help address the widening skills gaps within these key industries, ensuring that employers have access to the skilled workforces they require now and in the future.
Click here for more information about Career Colleges.