Digital skills programme to improve local graduate employability and boost local economy

The University of Liverpool will launch an innovative new digital skills training programme to improve employment prospects for local graduates, provide the skills that local employers demand and boost the local economy.

This Digital Graduate Accelerator project, funded by the Office for Students, aims to improve graduate employment outcomes for commuter students (those who live and study at home) in the local Liverpool City Region.

It will engage with 200 businesses to provide structured internships, training and mentoring for a team of Digital Coaches who will be trained in partnership with local social enterprise Agent Academy CIC. The students will then provide peer to peer digital skills training for over 1000 students at the University.

The programme will provide current undergraduate commuter students with the necessary knowledge, confidence and skills to be able to take advantage of employment opportunities in the region that require digital skills.

Paul Redmond, Director of Student Experience and Enhancement, said: “This is an innovative new programme that aims to provide commuter students from a wide range of disciplines with significant digital skills and knowledge to equip them for their future careers.

“It aims to address an identified digital skills gap between local employers demand for digital skills and the skills of current graduates. By partnering with local employers we can address this recognised skills gap which will not only enhance our commuter students’ career prospects but also deliver economic impact for the benefit of our city and region.

“We are delighted to be one of only a number of universities awarded this funding to support our commuter students and help the local economy.”

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students said: “This funding will help universities and colleges find ways to remove barriers to local graduate employment, broaden the choice for those local graduates, and help ensure that students are getting the right skills to enter rewarding work. It’s good news for graduates, universities and local employers in search of highly-skilled, work-ready graduates.”

The Liverpool City Region is one of the UK’s fastest growing hubs for digital companies and there are plans to make it the most digitally connected city region in the UK.  However, a recent report for the Northern Powerhouse cites digital skills gaps as a factor threatening the success of the regional digital economy which is worth £9.9 billion to the national economy and accounts for 5.2 per cent of the region’s GVA.

The Digital Graduate Accelerator programme is part of a £5.6million programme of projects awarded by the Office for Students to universities across England to boost opportunities for graduates who seek work close to home.

It is led by the University of Liverpool’s  Careers & Employability and programme partners include Agent Academy CIC, Sci-Tech Daresbury , the Liverpool City Region Local Economic Partnership, Unilever, Baabar, LAB by Capacity and MSB Solicitors.