ADD2374 Funding for Digital Talent Programme Careers Fair

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
15 October 2019
Decision by: 
Michelle Cuomo-Boorer, Assistant Director of Skills and Employment

Executive summary

This decision form requests approval of expenditure of up to £20,000 on a digital careers fair titled ‘Future X Skills’, as part of the Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme. The event will take place at the Barbican Centre during October half term 2019 and will be aimed at young people aged 16-24. This event will address the programme aim to support 2,000 young Londoners to access careers guidance and inspirational events for digital sector roles. It will expose young people to a wider view of the digital and technology sectors and engage them in interactive and educational ways. The Digital Talent Programme will be working in collaboration with the Workforce Integration Network (WIN) to ensure maximum impact of the event.
The expenditure will be funded from the budget allocated for marketing activities under Strand 6 of the programme, agreed by MD2040 in November 2016.

The budget will be split between the Digital Talent Programme (DTP) and the Workforce Integration Network (WIN), both GLA programmes. DTP’s budget is up to £10,000, however, approval for expenditure of up to £20,000 is sought as DTP will pay the event costs and WIN will vire 50% of the spend as a co-funder of the event. The £20,000 budget is expected to cover all expenses for the event. Once the funds are vired from the Communities and Social Policy (CSP) Unit, they will go back into the DTP budget.


That the Assistant Director of Skills and Employment approves:

1. expenditure of up to £20,000 to deliver a digital skills careers fair; and
2. virement of £10,000 from the Communities and Social Policy unit – which the Workforce Integration Network is a part of.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Under MD2040 the Mayor approved a £7m investment to fund the Digital Talent programme, a multi‑stranded programme that aims to plug the growing digital skills shortage in London’s labour market with diverse ‘homegrown’ talent. The programme will do this by funding new industry-led vocational training in digital, technology and creative occupations.


The aims of the Digital Talent programme are to:

  • make an immediate impact on young Londoners of working age who want a job that requires digital skills;
  • increase the number of young women and young people from Black Asian Minority Ethic (BAME) backgrounds and disadvantaged backgrounds who are currently underrepresented in digitally‑skilled occupations;
  • stimulate long-term collaboration between FE colleges, skills providers, Higher Education Institutions, secondary schools and employers of all sizes; and
  • ensure that employers have an improved pool of talent they can recruit from, helping to meet their growth aspirations that are currently hampered by skills shortages.


MD2040 approved £300,000 revenue expenditure to invest in a coordination, information and marketing campaign to direct young Londoners to careers advice and digital learning opportunities. It is proposed that up to £20,000 of this is allocated to deliver a careers fair to highlight a range of careers pathways within the digital sector, showcase inspiring role models and available employment and training opportunities.


The budget breakdown is as follows:




Barbican – venue & catering


Barbican - PA system


Barbican - LCD Screens


Pepper the Robot


The Sugar Cafe (Cyber security demo)


Gaming tournament demo


Marketing materials


Logistics and travel


Business contingency





Objectives and expected outcomes

The objective is to deliver an effective and inspiring careers event for young Londoners aged 16-24 that raises awareness into the different routes that can be taken to gain a career in the tech/digital sector.

The expected outcomes of the project include:

• Inspiring young Londoners, particularly young women and Londoners from BAME and disadvantaged backgrounds to join the digital workforce;
• Exposing these young Londoners to the different pathways they can take to get access into the tech and digital sectors;
• Promoting the Mayor’s Digital Talent programme and showcasing the Mayor’s commitment to address the digital skills gap and tackle the lack of diversity in this sector; and
• Raising awareness about the different providers, events the Mayor has funded, and programmes available for young people to engage with.

Expected outputs:

• 500 people registered;
• 250 attendees;
• 20 employers;
• 5 training providers;
• 5 interactive demos;
• Over 100 employment opportunities promoted;
• Over 50 free training opportunities promoted; and
• More than 50% conversion rate (into employment and training).

We are working with the GLA Intelligence Unit who will be supporting with the evaluation of this event.

Interactive tech focused businesses in attendance:

• Pepper the robot – Pepper the Robot is a robot designed by Robots of London – they have had previous contact with the Mayor and have even had their robots attend City Hall for an event in the Mayor’s Office. They have offered to bring their robot for a discounted rate, explain how robotics work and the future of robots in the tech industry and in social life. Finally, Robots of London will send an engineer with the robot to monitor it and let the attendees know of opportunities they offer for young people interested in robotics and routes to get in.
• The Sugar Café – this business is run by a man called Irtiza Nasar. He is a specialist in cyber security and on the day, he is going to be explaining the importance of GDPR, how sharing information online can be dangerous and what to look out for when sharing information online. He uses an interactive technique which is somewhat like a candy slot game to teach young people how to be secure when online and what types of cyber security are best.
• Gaming Tournament Demo – Mayamada is a gaming company created by individuals from underrepresented groups in the tech sector. They will hold a gaming tournament which is being set up to engage young people in games developed. The company will also inform the young people of the routes into software development, skills needed to become a game designer and opportunities they offer such as training, classes and work experience.

Equality comments

London’s economy is becoming increasingly digital and requires a workforce with a new set of skills. The Mayor’s Digital Talent programme will inspire and prepare more young Londoners (16 – 24 years old) for the digitally-skilled occupations needed by all sectors of the economy. Critically, it will have a strong focus on addressing the under-representation of women and BAME Londoners in the tech workforce and will develop ‘homegrown’ talent, tackling high rates of youth unemployment in London.

The Mayor is committed to turning around the under representation of women in the digital work force and the development of a tech talent pipeline to support London’s digital economy. This event will be a key part of a wider marketing campaign that will engage and inspire under-represented groups to develop their digital skills and find employment in digitally-skilled occupations.

Other considerations
    1. Key risks and issues

 Key risks associated with this proposal are set out below. Most of the risks to this event are reputational to the organisation. However, mitigations have been put in place and have already been tackled. Below is a table outlining the main risks that can impact this event.



Lack of capacity within Digital Talent Team to deliver the event.

We will be working with the WIN in collaboration for the delivery of this event. We have also called for volunteers to support the event, with some already confirming. Lastly, we will receive assistance from the venue on the event day to manage event capacity.

The event fails to reach the target groups or effectively address project priorities.

The project team will maximise all marketing opportunities and assess providers’ ability in reaching the target groups. An Eventbrite link is already in place and it has been circulated amongst the skills, education and training providers in the Skills and Employment Unit’s line up with the target number of responses already being achieved.

Lack of interested employers and training providers participating at event.

We have engaged providers and businesses well in advance, inviting them to participate in this event and have received positive responses on their attendance. Many providers and businesses external to the Skills and Employment Unit have also offered interest and help in spreading awareness.

Injury to attendees at the event due to wires, equipment or any other miscellaneous circumstances

The venue itself has its own health and safety policy in place which will be followed on the day of the event. It is fully accessible with fire exits and given the nature of the event, grip tape and in floor plugs around the side of the rooms shall be used. There will be venue management available on the day to assist and GLA volunteers along with venue staff in all the areas used to ensure safety.


    1. Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities
  1. The Digital Talent Programme fits within the Skills for Londoners Strategy; improving digital skills provision is identified as a key mayoral priority.
  3. This programme also aligns with the Smarter London Together roadmap, which sets out the Mayor’s plan to make London into the smartest city in the world, including a commitment to increasing diversity in the tech sector.
  5. Highlights that achieving economic fairness is a key Mayoral priority and gives a platform to various initiatives including WIN and Good Work Standard (GWS) that are key to achieving it.
  7. Helps to engage new employers with the GWS and solidify DTP and WIN relationships with tech firms and hopefully encourage them to formally sign up to working with these mayoral programmes.




(c)  Value for money


  • Well known arts and cultural venue that is popular amongst our target audience, tech events have been held in this event before – the venue is also in the tech city of London (East Central).
  • Mayoral events and activity welcomed here, LLW event held here in 2018.
  • Easy access for all, central London.
  • Historical venue, especially known for innovation.



  • Five other venues were visited by two GLA staff members.
  • Venues of the similar size or smaller were more expensive.
  • The chosen venue provides a team of event staff at no extra cost, hence reducing the need for GLA in-house resource.
  • Other venues had extra charges on top of the venue charge.
  • The event will highlight jobs and free training opportunities (especially Digital Talent Programme) to the targeted audience which achieves Mayoral priorities.
  • We have engaged providers we  have strong relationships with, who will host the exhibition stands free of charge.
  • No speaker fees will be incurred.



  • Joint event with the Workforce Integration Network, therefore all costs are split 50-50, i.e. a maximum of £10,000 for Digital Talent Programme.
  • No extra unforeseen costs for staffing on the day of the event.
  • After looking at five other venues of the same calibre, Barbican was the most cost effective and attractive.


There are no interests to be declared from those involved in drafting this decision.

Financial comments

The total estimated cost of £20,000 for this project will be funded equally from the GLA’s Digital Talent Programme budget for 2019-20 held within the Skills & Employment Unit (approved by MD2040) and via virement from the ‘Workforce Integration Network’ stream of the Social Integration Programme budget held within the Communities & Social Policy Unit (£10,000 each).

Activity table



Venue confirmed

w/c 9 September

Businesses, providers and speakers engaged 

w/c 20 September

Marketing blurb finalised and published

w/c 23 September

Contract signed and PO number raised for the venue

w/c 14 October

Final logistics, venue mapping

w/c 14 October

Confirmation of event programme

w/c 14 October


21 October 2019

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