Digital skills scheme to get young people into Tech City jobs

Tech City are starting a new programme which is trying to get young people in the community to look

Tech City are starting a new programme which is trying to get young people in the community to look at tech careers as a serous option and make the Tech City industry seem more accessible. - Credit: Archant

The WeAreDotDotDot project is an online platform aimed at connecting east London’s youngsters with digital courses, apprenticeships and events to help them gain essential skills for jobs in the sector.

Tech City companies in borough

Tech City companies in borough - Credit: Archant

The scheme emerged from an employment report by Centre for London and will roll out across Newham, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Hackney on March 25.

The report’s figures show that employment rates in Newham have fallen by almost three per cent in 2013 to 2014, compared to the previous year.

Centre for London’s Jess Tyrrell, who runs the project, said in the face of a big job shortage there were still lots of tech companies seeking out young talent.

She said: “It is about connecting the community more with Tech City and thinking how we can link these opportunities to young people who live in these boroughs and what the exciting prospects are.

Employment rates graphic

Employment rates graphic - Credit: Archant

“If we make better connections with these existing opportunities, we can then make them much more accessible to young people. In Tech City is can be difficult to say which door to you knock on as there is not just one, but lots of small ones.”

Jess added: “The good news is there are lots of programmes that are growing that can really help connect young people. If you are seven or eight, you can go to code clubs down in Google Campus. There are lots of things for older young people as well like Tech City apprenticeships which are getting bigger and better, but they still struggle to get young people applying to them.”

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The WeAreDotDotDot online platform will allow young people aged from five to 25 years old to search for opportunities by their location.

Newham school pupil Klaudio Prela, 14, first became aware of the tech industry after being introduced to it by his IT teacher at St Bonaventure’s School, in Boleyn Road, Forest Gate.

He said: “I was considering going into business as a career, but this programme has changed my mind. “The tech industry is looking quite appealing to me now.

“I would probably like to be a product designer with technology. Before there wasn’t much technology shaping our everyday lives, but as new technology comes out it’s gradually changing our lives more and more, so we should be giving the tech industry more attention.”

The WeAreDotDotDot project has also received support from organisations like Barclays, the Mayor of London and Tech City UK.

Jess said: “We have spoken to a lot of local authorities and political people and so we know that all the boroughs are keen on having something like this. We have four very distinct boroughs and we want to bring that together with private sector to offer something significant to them.”

Jess added: “I’ve lived in east London for 15 years on the border of Hackney and Tower Hamlets and I’ve seen the area change a lot.

“I think it’s very exciting but I think it needs to be inclusive and I am passionate about the importance of creating ways in which we are as democratic as possible about who gets to succeed from the opportunities in Tech City.

“It’s important for the fabric of our community and what we call home otherwise there is a danger that we have this divided community between the rich and poor.”

Tony Margiotto, manager of the Central Working Space in Whitechapel, where the project is being run, has been providing space to facilitate the courses.

Working with more than 800 Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), he said the project would be invaluable in helping these start-ups scale up.

He said: “We have this space which is amazing and it is just one of many, and the whole idea is that we are creating this space that is the ideal environment for not only small companies to grow but equally space for young people to come in and be taught by these experts.”

Those who are interested in signing up can come to a sneak preview next Wednesday at Central Working Space, in Mile End Road, to get a sense of how the platform works.

People can also pre-register for the site by visiting