DD1370 Digital Careers Roadshow

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD1370
Date signed: 
22 September 2015
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

The London Enterprise Panel has given its in-principle agreement to funding a project to support young jobseekers and train 18-24 year old Jobcentre Plus caseworkers to improve opportunities in the tech sector.

Decision

That the Executive Director approves entry into a grant agreement of up to £50,000 in 2015-16 with Digital Skills Advantage to deliver the Digital Careers Roadshow project.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Digital Careers Roadshow will introduce 50 tech companies to 1,000 jobseekers from five boroughs. The 1,000 jobseekers will go through a rigorous pre-registration vetting process to ensure they have the right skills and potential to work in the tech sector.

The project can be delivered for a total cost of £50,000 (e.g. by delivering in partnership with Further Education colleges rather than paying for commercial event spaces). In order to increase the ambition of the programme and attract as many businesses as possible, private sector match funding is being sought from a range of organisations.

Ahead of each roadshow event, the young people will be matched to tech companies which have signed up to attend the roadshow events and which are a) looking to recruit and b) match the skills and interests of the candidates. Companies and candidates will meet at five roadshow events – out of these meetings we expect a minimum of 250 of the young people to be given jobs.

In parallel, we will also train 100 Job Centre Plus caseworkers and Business Managers at each roadshow event to become ‘digital ambassadors’ within their job centres. The Ambassadors will be selected from Job Centres in each of the five roadshow boroughs. Through the roadshow, they will gain a better understanding of the tech sector, its skill requirements, and how to spot potential recruits in the future. They will also begin to build better links with tech companies both in their local area and further afield.

As a programme tailored for the tech sector/creative industries, this complements but does not duplicate Skills London. Each of the five roadshow events will support Skills London, the capital’s biggest jobs and careers event for 15-24 year olds, by hosting a 'Skills London Zone'. The ‘Skills London Zone’ will host B2B engagement between Tier 2/SME businesses and potential employers (major skills shows attract primarily Tier 1 tech companies) and marketing Skills London to this wider range of employers.

Objectives and expected outcomes

•    The project has the following objectives:

o    To create job opportunities for young people who might otherwise not consider digital careers as being open to them.
o    To educate Job Centre Plus caseworkers about the tech sector and its skill requirements. 
o    To empower these digital champions to cascade their knowledge to other caseworkers and business managers in their job centres.
o    To build better links between Job Centre Plus caseworkers and tech companies.
o    To create a new jobs pipeline between tech companies and job centres in five boroughs.
o    To ultimately increase the diversity of the workforce in the creative industries.
o    To establish private sector support for scaling up the project in the future.

•    The project has the following outputs:

o    Five events in five areas: Barking & Dagenham; Greenwich; Ealing; Enfield and Tower Hamlets.
o    Digital Skills Advantage will conduct a rigorous pre-registration process to select 1,000 young people who have the right skills or potential to work in the tech sector. Based on face to face conversations, as well as an assessment of written evidence such as CVs, Digital Skills Advantage will determine the top 1,000 candidates most likely to be successful at interview.
o    In order to maximise the number of people who go on to achieve recruitment, Digital Skills Advantage will match the candidates to 50 companies who are looking to recruit and who best match their interests and skills.
o    The events will also bring together at least 100 Job Centre caseworkers leaving a legacy of a more educated jobcentre workforce.

•    The project is expected to have the following outcomes:

o    Conservative estimate (based on similar events delivered by Digital Skills Advantage) is that out of 1,000 connections made there will be 250 job and apprenticeship opportunities offered as a result of the event.

o    The added value is not just about matching young talent to jobs. It is about opening up the tech sector to disadvantaged young people who nevertheless have the right skills.

o    It is also about increasing diversity in the creative industries.

o    It will create 100 digital champions within Job Centres who will cascade their knowledge about the digital sector to their fellow caseworkers.

o    And ultimately it will create a much better jobs pipeline between job centres and tech companies for the future.

Equality comments

•    This is a pilot project so will identify the potential for discrimination or adverse impact, or missed opportunities affecting those with protected characteristics and make recommendations on how these can be avoided or addressed in the future. 

•    The project is first and foremost going to support young 18 - 24 year olds from Jobcentres across London (the 120 Jobcentre branches). These are young people who are excluded  / disadvantaged i.e. they don’t get invited / encouraged to come to events in the digital sector. This is the core way in which we can support London’s BAME communities. 

•    Young women in tech is a core focus for the project which will aim to work with organisations like ‘Ladies Who Learn’ to increase the numbers of women going into the tech sector.

•    The project is working with an organisation which has previously supported young people with disabilities. The Roadshow will offer community groups in this area free exhibitor stands to promote the work they do. 

•    A proportion of stands will be given at no charge to community groups in the tech space who are committed to getting minority groups into this sector.

Other considerations

•    Digital Careers Roadshow will support three key London Enterprise Panel (LEP) themes (i) Apprenticeships; (ii) Skills Providers and (iii) Careers Advice and Guidance. In particular, the project supports the LEP's goal of doubling the number of science and tech apprenticeships by 2016 - engaging SMEs (through the event and Digital Skills Agency magazine) and promoting higher-level apprenticeships. 

•    There is a risk of ensuring take-up – among young people and tech companies. To address this the project is building on existing partnerships and activity in this area through partnership with a range of organisations who have knowledge, expertise and track record. 

•    The selection of Digital Skills Advantage to deliver the project follows a call-out for ideas earlier this year. The project will be delivered in partnership with Digital Skills Advantage, the Work Foundation and the Department for Work and Pensions. These organisations have extensive experience of working in this space and have networks of contacts in Jobcentres and in the tech sector. Digital Skills Advantage have previously delivered the Tech Zone at Skills London, Tech Career Camps and the Digital Skills Show. The outputs set out above reflect Digital Skills Advantage’s track record delivering skills interventions for digital employers and young people.

•    The programme will join up with other GLA-funded initiatives connecting young people to jobs in the digital sector and will actively work alongside Tech.London and wearedotdotdot run by the Centre for London. GLA officers in Culture Team will ensure that the project aligns with the Mayor’s Digital Skills Programme (DSP). There are opportunities to promote the roadshow to FE colleges, employers and young people participating in the DSP and also join up the Job Centre Digital Champions with the Tech Talent Pipeline.

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought to grant fund up to £50,000 in 2015/16 to Digital Skills Advantage to deliver the Digital Careers Roadshow project (to be governed by funding agreement).
5.2    The revenue cost of up to £50,000 will be funded from the Growing Places Fund (GPF) programme, for which the GLA is the Accountable Body.

5.3    The use of GPF programme funds has been approved by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) at its meeting of 2 June 2015.
5.4    Although GPF is expected to be a revolving fund, grant conditions do not preclude its use for grant funding.
5.5    All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

5.6    As the proposed funding above is to be governed via funding agreement, officers are reminded to ensure that they liaise with both the Legal and Finance Teams in the preparation and execution of the funding agreements. In addition, the monitoring of the funding and associated payments must be line with the Authority’s Funding Agreement Toolkit.

5.7      Officers will be responsible for assessing Digital Skills Advantage’s grant claims against the funding agreement and taking any remedial action should output and costs vary from the agreement. The funding agreements should clearly state milestones to be met in order to claim funding. 

5.8     Officers should also ensure that the requirements relating to the Authority’s Contracts and Funding Code are met.

5.9     Any changes to this proposal must be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process.

5.10     The Culture Team within the Communities & Intelligence Directorate will be responsible for managing this project and associated funding agreement.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Project start date

September 2015

Businesses signed up

September 15

Young people recruited

September – January 16

Event 1 (North London)

February 2016

Event 2 (West London)

June 2016

Event 3 (East London)

July 2016

Event 4 (Central London)

October 2016

Event 5 (South London)

November 2016

Project ends (evaluation)

December 2016