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Tech City UK Expands Digital Business Academy to Meet Britain’s Growing Digital Skills Demands
LONDON, April 21st. Tech City UK today announces the expansion of its flagship Digital Business Academy programme and the latest figures on the programme’s successes to date. New course content on how to track early-stage startup performance will be introduced in response to the growing demand across the nation for the essential skills needed to start, run, or join a digital business.
With the addition of new course content from founding provider Founder Centric, members of the public will now be able to access nine online courses from world-class educational institutions and industry experts.
Since launching in November last year, more than 12,000 users have signed up to the platform, and the number of users that have completed the courses has reached up to 26% – almost four times industry average.
User trends have also revealed that more than half of Digital Business Academy participants want to start their own business, pointing to a rapidly evolving entrepreneurial culture across the UK.
Key stats demonstrating the hunger for digital learning that exists across the UK include:
- 12,000 sign ups across the UK since launch
- Course completion rates of up to 26%
- 48% of users are under 30
- 39% of users are over 35
- 56% of current users want to start their own business
- 23% of current users want to grow their existing business
- 21% of current users want digital skills to get a job
- The average satisfaction score for the current courses is over 8 out of 10 based on a survey of DBA learners undertaken by Tech City UK
A recent report has suggested that Britain will need 745,000 additional workers with digital skills to meet the rising demand from employers between 2013 and 2017. As a direct response to this need, Tech City UK launched the Digital Business Academy with the support of leading national educational institutions and industry partners.
Tech City UK CEO, Gerard Grech, comments: “Campus life and entrepreneurship are not mutually exclusive. Digital Business Academy represents a revolutionary shift in attitude in how we approach learning and accessing the right opportunities in a fast-moving industry. From canvassing digital businesses in Tech City and across the UK, we recognise access to talent is an issue and we are tackling issue the head on”.
Newly appointed Head of the programme, Richard Dennys, said: “We’re delighted that over 12,000 users have registered for Digital Business Academy courses. The fact that so many people are taking and completing courses shows that the UK is embracing a truly entrepreneurial culture.
“The course completion rates have been double the industry average and we are seeing a real appetite for access to tangible digital business skills across the UK. With the addition of extra course material from Founder Centric, I’m incredibly excited to see the next phase of DBA and the digital ventures our course participants will embark upon”.
Digital Business Academy is succeeding in its mission to democratise access to education, offering free courses to anyone in the UK who wants to start, run, or join a digital business.
Devin Hunt of Founder Centric comments: “At Founder Centric we’re always looking for the best ways to teach honest, practical entrepreneurship. Joining forces with Digital Business Academy dovetails perfectly with our core mission and we are delighted to support the programme with brand new course material. We’re excited to start creating the next phase of the Digital Business Academy and can’t wait to see how participants use it”.
The Digital Business Academy already offers eight online business courses from UCL, Cambridge Judge Business School and Founder Centric, and over 43 industry partners including Microsoft Ventures, Ogilvy and the BBC. It is a direct pipeline to opportunity with partners offering paid internships, mentorship, specialist content, as well as free startup support such as fast tracking to startup loans and free co-working space.
Tech City UK is also looking for further content providers, and a range of new partners are in the pipeline following an excellent response to a request for proposals.
The increasing demand for digital skills is being driven by the growth of the UK’s tech sector. The recent findings from Tech City UK’s Tech Nation report found that digital employment is set to grow faster than any other sector with growth of 5.4% by 2020. Of the digital companies analysed for the report, one third of respondents cited a lack of local talent as one of their biggest barriers to growth. Digital employment is a national phenomenon with the report finding that 1.46 million people are employed by digital technology companies across the UK, with 74% of digital jobs are based outside of London.
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 The Future of Digital Skills Needs in the UK Economy, O2 & Development Economics, 2014