DD2204 Digital Talent Pipeline programme – financial allocation

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2204
Date signed: 
25 January 2018
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

The Mayors Digital Talent Programme is a £7 million fund to support the development of digital, tech and creative skills in young Londoners. The Programme is multi-stranded, with six separate project funding strands that is being delivered through the Skills for Londoners taskforce. 
Investment will:
-    make an immediate impact on young Londoners of working age who want a job that requires digital skills; and
-    inspire and prepare more young Londoners aged 16-24 years old for digitally-skilled occupations so they can access well-paid jobs in digital, technology and creative occupations, with a specific focus on young women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Londoners and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. 
MD1563 delegated authority to the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment to approve changes to the proposals for individual elements of the Programme as may be required for delivery. 
 

Decision

That the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment approves:
1.    The re-allocation of the following funds within strand 2 of the Digital Talent Programme to a new ‘Young Entrepreneur’ Project:
a.    £258,500 revenue from the strand 2 ‘Digital Bootcamps’ project; and 
b.    up to £200,000 revenue from the strand 2 ‘Digital Skills Training’.
2.    The expenditure of £458,000 from the new strand 2 ‘Young Entrepreneur’ project to fund a training course and support young Londoners develop entrepreneurial skills and employ these skills in the development of a small enterprise/startup.  
3.    The allocation of up to £150,000 revenue from the GLA Education and Youth team to supplement strand 5 (Teacher CPD package) project of the Digital Talent Programme, increasing the total funding available to up to £450,000.
 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Background - Digital Talent Programme

1.1    As part of Skills for Londoners, the Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme is investing £7m to help young people get the right skills to fill a growing number of digital, creative and technology jobs. There is a critical need to ensure that the rapid growth in jobs requiring digital skills benefits Londoners. 

1.2    The Programme is being delivered through the Skills for Londoners taskforce, following the model developed by New York, with more young people enabled and encouraged to gain key digital skills, and more apprenticeships in the sector. It will ensure more girls are supported to develop tech skills, to help combat the under-representation of women in tech jobs. 

1.3    Investment will:
-    make an immediate impact on young Londoners of working age who want a job that requires digital skills; 
-    inspire and prepare more young Londoners aged 16-24 years old for digitally-skilled occupations so they can access well-paid jobs in digital, technology and creative occupations, with a specific focus on young women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Londoners and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

1.4    The Programme will achieve this by stimulating long-term collaboration between skills providers, Further Education (FE) colleges, Higher Education (HE) universities, secondary schools, sixth form colleges and employers of all sizes. 

Strand 2: Young Entrepreneurs

1.5    London is the number one European city for fostering start-ups and scale-ups . A developed Venture Capital industry and a large financial services sector has created the right environment for the growth of fintech and crowdfunding startups. 

1.6    Globally, young people are three times more likely than adults to be unemployed . Digital entrepreneurial activity can be an effective tool for young people to enter the labour market and develop work skills. Particularly as youth show significantly higher levels of entrepreneurial activity. According to 2012-2014 GEMs data, youth are 1.6 times more likely to have entrepreneurial ambitions than adults , however this does not indicate the development of a successful business. The key is to translate this entrepreneurial intention into sustainable businesses that can contribute to the economy. 

1.7    Digital entrepreneurial ventures create jobs, research by Accenture in 2014 estimated that digital entrepreneurs could create 10 million new youth jobs in G20 countries within five years  . It is imperative that London capitalises on its advantages as a ‘digital city’ and supports an active and thriving digital entrepreneurial sector to drive job growth.

1.8    Access to funding is a key limiting factor for young entrepreneurs. In a global survey of young entrepreneurs in 2015 by global consultancy EY, access to funding was identified as the number one barrier to realising entrepreneurial goals (43% of respondents) .

1.8.1    There is an identifiable need to support young people entering digital entrepreneurship. Young women and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds lack contact with successful entrepreneurial role models for mentoring and support. For instance, based on Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data 2012-2014, young men are 1.3 times more likely than young women to personally know an entrepreneur . The lack of networks, or even the knowledge on how to enter these networks, hinders access to essential seed funding. This was also reflected in the Prince’s Trust report, Slipping through the net (December 2016), which found that young people, particularly young people who are Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEETs), lacked knowledge in:
-    How to apply digital skills to expand professional contacts and engage with businesses
-    How to apply these skills to create concrete strategies.
In addition, access to suitable IT infrastructure and ongoing and relevant education and training is essential in the entry and retention of young people in the digital entrepreneurial sector.

1.9    Strand 2 – Digital Bootcamps
Thirteen applications for grant funding were received by the deadline. They were assessed and scored against the published criteria by GLA Officers from the Delivery Unit (DU) of the European Social Fund team and Economic and Business Policy. This process included appraisal, interviews and moderation. Only three providers demonstrated the technical (digital) aspects of the specification sufficiently and were awarded funding.  The overall budget was £2,000,000. In total £1,483,000 was awarded to three providers. The EBP have retained their £258,500 funding to allocate to another project (the remaining £258,500 match funding was provided by the DU). It is proposed that this £258,500 is allocated to a new ‘Young Entrepreneurs’ project within strand 2 (see paragraph 2.1 to 2.5 below).

1.10    Strand 2 – Digital skills training
It is anticipated that there will also be underspend from the Digital Skills Training project which is also being delivered through strand 2 of the Digital Talent Programme. The total amount of underspend is anticipated to be in the region of £200,000. It is proposed that this further underspend also be allocated to the ‘Young Entrepreneurs’ project.

Strand 5: Teacher Professional Development 

1.11    The strand 5 Teacher Professional Development project will support teachers and training providers in the education of Young Londoners, as well as connect them with digital and tech businesses. It is essential that teachers are confident and up to date with current digital technology, and that they can advise and provide direction for students that wish to enter the digital tech workforce. 

1.12    The priorities of the Teacher Professional Development project align with those of the Education and Youth team. Namely, improving learning outcomes in the digital and tech in London. A key tool in improving learning outcomes is to support teachers and trainers so they are confident and knowledgeable of the digital tech landscape.

1.13    The GLA Education and Youth team will have up to £150,000 of revenue left from the London Schools Excellence Fund. It is proposed that the funds be made available to support the strand 5 Teacher Professional Development project.

Previous decisions

1.14    This report follows two previous Mayoral Decisions and three previous Director Decisions (see below), which authorised development work for the initiation phase of the Programme:

-    MD2040 Digital Talent Programme
-    MD1563 Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme 
-    DD1270 LEP Delivery Staffing Resources (FE Capital and Digital Skills Programmes) £31,500 for the staffing costs in delivering the Digital Skills pilot programme
-    DD1327 Phase 3 of the City Skills Fund Digital Skills £60,250 Research to support the specification and evaluation framework of the £5 million Digital Skills programme awarded to the LEP as part of the Local Growth Deal.
-    DD2118 Digital Talent Programme – revised financial allocation
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The objectives of the overall Programme remain the same as MD1563. 

Strand 2: Young Entrepreneurs

2.2    The creation of a new Young Entrepreneur project within strand 2 will contribute to the overarching objectives of:
-    Increasing the number of high-quality learning opportunities for young people aged 16-24 years old to study industry-designed courses in technology, digital and digital-creative occupations that will lead to employment. 
-    Increasing the number of young women, young BAME Londoners and those from disadvantaged backgrounds gaining employment in digital, technology and creative occupations.

2.3    The Young Entrepreneur project will provide training and support to young Londoners from diverse backgrounds to develop skills in digital entrepreneurship. Providing them with the skills necessary to plan, develop and run an entrepreneurial venture or startup. The young Londoners will also be supported through improved access to networks, funding opportunities, and working spaces. 

2.4     The reallocation of the unspent funds from the Digital Bootcamps (£258,000) and Digital Training (up to £250,000) projects of strand 2 will result in a total funding amount of £458,000. This will fund up to two providers to deliver a training programme and support package for young Londoners aged 18-24 years. The training offers will be targeted towards women, young Londoners from BAME backgrounds, and young Londoners who are NEET or at risk of NEET.  

Strand 5: Teacher Professional Development

2.5    The allocation of the £150,000 funding from the GLA Education and Youth team will result in a total funding amount of £450,000 for the Teacher Professional Development package. This additional funding will enable the Teacher Professional Development package to reach more participants, having a broader impact upon the delivery of digital skills education in London. 

 

Equality comments

3.1    The purpose of the Digital Talent Programme remains unchanged from the original funding allocation. The Programme has a specific focus on inspiring and training more young women, young BAME, and young people who are NEET or are risk of NEET aged 16-24 years old to pursue careers in tech, digital and creative. The Young Entrepreneur project will provide an additional avenue for young people in currently under-represented groups to enter the digital, tech and creative sector and realise entrepreneurial ambitions. 

3.2    The proposed changes to the funding allocation ensures that surplus funding (both from within the Programme and from the Education and Youth team) is used to train and support young Londoners that are currently under-represented in tech and digitally skilled occupations in London, namely young women and people from BAME backgrounds. The reallocation of funds will assist young Londoners in finding work within London’s digital, tech and creative workforce.

3.3    The delivery of the Digital Talent Programme will adhere to the requirements of section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. 
 

Other considerations

Links to Mayoral commitments 

The Programme will contribute towards delivery of a key Mayoral manifesto commitment. This Programme forms part of a wider strategy that will be termed the ‘Tech Talent Pipeline’. The strategic role of the Programme will help towards creating a functioning pipeline across the capital to: “Establish a tech talent pipeline, through the Skills for Londoners taskforce, following the model developed by New York, with more young people enabled and encouraged to gain key digital skills, and more apprenticeships in the sector. In particular I will ensure more girls are supported to develop tech skills, so that we can turn around the under-representation of women in tech jobs.”
 

Financial comments

5.1    The proposed reallocations of funding to other strands of the Programme totals £458,500 (£258,500 from Digital Bootcamps & £200,000 from Digital Skills Training) and will be contained within the existing Programme budget as previously approved by MD2040 and DD2118 (held within the Economic Business Policy Unit).

5.2    In addition to the reallocation of the existing budget provision, there will be additional spend upon strand 5 of the Programme, specifically the CPD packages up to the value of £150,000. This will be funded from under-spends accruing from the 2017-18 London Schools Excellence Fund budget (held within the Communities & Intelligence Directorate). This additional spend will increase the total allocation for strand 5 to £450,000.
 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

 

Activity

Timeline

Market-warming and project initiation

Taken place

Procurement of delivery agents; establish contracts & grant funding agreements for the Young Entrepreneur project and the Teacher Professional Development project

January 2018 – June 2018

Launch of programme offer

June 2018

Delivery Start Date

November  2018

Interim evaluation

January 2019

Delivery End Date

Project Closure

December 2019

    February  2020

Final Evaluation

March 2020

 

 

 

 

 

Delivery timelines for the two projects will be dependent on the type of courses funded by the programme. Bidders will be required to give realistic start and end dates that will allow them to develop course content, market the offers and recruit participants to the courses. This may result in differing start and end dates for the courses, which will be taken into account through monitoring and evaluation of the programme. 

 


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