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Posted on December 2, 2016 by staff

London digital fund will pave way for women in tech

The Mayor of London has pledged £7m to free workspaces for young tech and digital industries based in the capital.

Announced by Sadiq Khan yesterday, the fund is aimed at helping creative professionals of tomorrow access vital skills and training.

The Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme will have a particular focus on boosting the proportion of women in the industry, which currently stands at just 17 per cent. It also aims to improve diversity within the industry, with a particular focus on black, Asian and other ethnic minorities from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Khan said: “Our vibrant tech sector is globally renowned and the city is awash with thousands of tech innovators and entrepreneurs who are developing the latest apps and software and delivering economic prosperity for the city.

“However, it is vital that we nurture the next generation of digital enthusiasts so we can continue to provide our tech firms with home-grown talent.

“Our new scheme will help to ensure that this crucial sector continues to go from strength to strength.

“It will also look to address the factors that are often preventing young women, those from minority ethnic backgrounds and our more deprived communities from accessing tech jobs and ensure there is a level playing field when it comes to being a part of this hugely exciting part of our economy.”

There are now around 40,000 tech businesses in London, employing almost 200,000 people, 3.5 per cent of the capital’s total workforce.

Despite this success, there is a growing gap between the skills young Londoners have and those that digital and technology businesses in the capital need if they are to continue to thrive.

The Mayor is keen to plug this gap to ensure young Londoners are taught the digital skills they need to access well-paid jobs while companies are able to recruit local talent.

Kathryn Parsons, Co-Founder and CEO of London technology education company DeCoded and a member of the Mayor’s new Business Advisory Board said: “There is a global war for talent taking place.

“Businesses are desperately seeking coders, data scientists, cyber security skills but also creative thinkers, problem solvers and communicators. We need to reimagine what education looks like.

“I am excited to see real investment into developing the next generation of talent in London. I believe that the UK can become the best place in the world for technology education.

“You won’t find technology talent, the next generation of superstars, mavericks and creators, where you expect to find them. It is vital that we make it for everyone.”

Cash will come in the form of £5m from the London Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and £2m from the European Social Fund.