Robyn Dooley, Founder, OH, Liverpool

1. Please tell us a bit about OH

OH is an alternative education organisation located in Liverpool which exists to bridge the opportunity gap in the creative and digital industry.

We create memorable learning experiences,? ?online and offline, for people to get ahead in their career.? ?Our content has been co-created with leaders from the industry to help? ?the next generation of creative leaders, teams, and companies stay up to date and inspired by the untold stories, new methodologies and ways of working that are shaping the industry today.

Our main training programme, Catalyst, was launched earlier in the year of 2017 and has made its mark within alternative education for creative and digital. The 10-day programme is for those who have no to little experience in the industry and are seeking an opportunity to get their foot in the door. Catalyst is held in the heart of Liverpool and has been co-designed with industry, meaning those who we work with are mentored, challenged and given the freedom to explore their creativity whilst being surrounded by like-minded people and some of the city’s most profound digital leaders.

2. What has your experience been of finding talent in the area? Do you think there is a digital skills shortage?

We started our quest to address the skills gap in 2015, and the more we do within our community and in our city the more we’ve realised it’s not the lack of skills that are an issue – we have plenty of skills just very little opportunity to showcase them. Through the delivery of Catalyst, we’ve been introduced to young talent across the city region who have the skills but don’t have the knowledge of what the creative and digital landscape looks like in the city.

One of the biggest issues for people entering the industry is that they’re totally unaware of what’s available for the level of skills that they have – a lot of them experience self-doubt before applying for roles because of the job descriptions being too rigid and not being familiar with the new job titles that are emerging in the industry today.

While there’s certainly a conversation to be had around skills, we think it’s a different conversation to the one the industry is currently having. There is a lot of focus on the technical skills of people who are entering the industry, but we think the focus needs to be shifted on to the core skills needed of simply getting a job. The core skills being everything from communication, managing conflict, dealing with and offering feedback, articulating your skills in a confident manner, etc. Through our research and the delivery of Catalyst, we’ve come to realise that it’s all well and good having technical skills but if you don’t have the confidence to showcase them or implement them in a workplace setting then that’s when you begin to think there’s a skills gap in the industry.

So to put it much more simply, digital skills aren’t the problem… It’s the confidence and awareness of people entering the industry that needs addressing.

4. How do you make sure you get the best out of your staff?

We’re a team of one but supported by a large creative and digital community in Liverpool. We’re ambitious, collaborative and recognise that what we’re looking to address cannot be done alone. Working collectively and as one has been the most important part in bringing everything that we do, together.