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Background

The Heart of the South West Digital Skills Partnership was launched in June 2018, bringing together the public, private and third sector to tackle the digital skills divide in Somerset, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. Forming part of a pilot of, six Local Digital Skills Partnerships (LDSP), announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Our local partnership is responsible for coordinating and delivering a digital strategy that raises digital skills for our community, working to eradicate social and geographical imbalances to ensure everyone has access to digital services. The partnership also focuses on workplace mobility; ensuring the right digital training is available for young people, those outside of the workforce, work returners, employees looking to retrain and supports a workplace where the regions highly skilled digital employees can continue to learn. We work closely with the regions education providers to ensure young people are aware of the diverse range of careers and are supported to enter into digital jobs, and that teaching staff are supported to teach digital subjects that keep pace with new technologies.

We work in tandem with the National Digital Skills Partnership Board to ensure that the Government’s UK Digital Strategy is responsive to local needs and in return the local area can make the most of national opportunities, sector analysis to inform delivery, cross-government department collaboration and funding opportunities to overcome digital challenges.

Phil Smith, co-chair of the National Digital Skills Board said of the digital challenge “We are at a pivotal point. Technological developments are transforming the way we live and work. Our ability to continue on a path of innovation will be determined by our commitment as a nation to ensuring that everyone has the skills they need to support, and benefit from, a thriving digital economy.”

The Partnership consists of 25 partners representing the public, private and third sector who meet bi-monthly. The partnership is supported by a Partnership Manager who is responsible for translating the partnerships ambition into tangible delivery on the ground that meets the needs of the region, delivering the Digital Skills Action Plan for 2019 onwards.

Covid-19 Statement

The Heart of the South West LEP Digital Skills Partnership had led the regional coordination of digital news; helping businesses, organisations and individuals move to remote working, remote learning and signposting to digital resources that help upskill. This information is shared through our newsletter (read this week’s here) and cascaded through District and Local Authority Economic Development teams, Business Groups, Schools and Charities. As the digital sector responds swiftly to this crisis, we’re expecting to send out regular newsletters as new webinars, peer to peer blogs and resources are released. If your organisation has resources you’d like to include please get in touch with me at charlotte.collyer@heartofswlep.co.uk

We’re encouraging local organisations to blog and share inspiration of what’s worked and what hasn’t, as they’ve either moved their processes online or put in place new processes to limit face to face contact. We’re also discussing ideas that could help;  digital buddy volunteers, setting up a weekly webinar with expert speakers and a IT hardware repurposing and recycling scheme. Finally we’ll be looking at some of the projects that are paused due to Covid-19, to see if they can be repurposed to short digital support interventions to help organisations both now and in the immediate phase as we move out of lockdown.

Digital Skills Partnership Updates

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The Digital Skills Review
The Digital Skills Review
2019 - 2020 Action Plan
2019 – 2020 Action Plan