Katie Gallagher, managing director at the North’s leading independent digital trade association comments on the result of the UK General Election and how it is going to effect the digital sector in the North.
“The coalition certainly brought in some good initiatives for tech and digital businesses, most of which until recently were focused on London. However this changed dramatically in the run-up to the election where there was borderline hysteria from all political parties about tech and the North.
“I hope that the Tories will continue to invest in the North and understand just how vital our technology sector is to job growth and the wider economy. It’ll be interesting to see how the Tech North initiative pans out, considering it was a Lib Dem initiative all along.
“While the last Government did introduce computer science into the curriculum, they also introduced several controversial reforms which were actually at odds with the desire to create work ready students with vocational, hands on experience.
“David Cameron has said his party will create more apprenticeships, and whilst we admire this ambition, digital technology apprenticeships have not been as successful as hoped, particularly in the SME community. The infrastructure still isn’t right to get enough quality talent from schools into digital apprenticeships, so I hope the new Government will look to change this. We really need to get digital education right this time and tackle this skills gap once and for all.
“I’d also like to see additional investment in promising start-ups. While we did see the introduction of some helpful finance products under the coalition, there’s still number of decent tech businesses that are struggling to access the finance they need to grow. Cameron has been known to champion UK start-ups, so I hope this remains a priority.
“It was a challenge for us to make sure industry voices were heard in the right places with the last Government. I hope that the new Government listens this time and realises its approach to digital, skills and economic growth needs to be joined up, and the best way of doing that is from a business-led, bottom up approach.”
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