MD2512 Digital Talent Programme – programme extension

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
03 September 2019
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme (the “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.

The purpose of this MD is to approve additional expenditure on the Programme of £210,000 to cover staffing costs over years 2019/20 and 2020/21 so as to allow for a programme extension to March 2021. This will in turn enable the team to meet all existing targets.


That the Mayor approves:

additional expenditure of £210,000 in 2019/20 and 2020/21, from the Development, Enterprise and Environment (DEE) Minor Programme Budget, to pay for staff costs and allow the Digital Talent Programme to be extended to March 2021.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme is a £7m investment to help young people obtain the skills to fill digital, creative and technology occupations across London’s economy. The programme is co funded by LEAP – London’s Local Enterprise Partnership (£5m) and the European Social Fund (ESF) (£2m), and is organised into six different strands, each with their own aims, funding and outcomes.

Previous decisions

This report follows two previous Mayoral Decisions, four previous Director Decisions, and two Assistant Director Decisions (see below), which authorised development work for the Programme:

- MD1563 (2015) 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;
- MD2040 (2016) Digital Talent Programme;
- DD2118 (2017) Digital Talent Programme – revised financial allocation;
- DD2204 (2017) Digital Talent Programme – Young Entrepreneur;
- ADD2189 (2018) Digital Talent Programme – launch event; and
- ADD2297 (2018) Digital Talent Programme – careers event.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives of the overall Programme remain the same as MD1563 which is to connect young Londoners with jobs by tackling the emerging skills gaps in the tech sector. The programme extension to March 2021 will allow providers more time to deliver the outputs as set out below:









Total lifetime targets

Support 800 young Londoners to access new, industry approved learning opportunities (digital, employability and entrepreneurial skills).







Support 500 University students to gain new skills and work experience through SME placements.








Engage 400 start-ups and SMEs to access higher level skills that will support business growth.








Support 400 school and FE teachers to deliver industry-relevant digital skills learning and qualifications.








Signpost 2,000 young Londoners to access better information, sign-posting, careers guidance and inspirational events for digital, technology and digital-creative roles.








Staffing and programme extension

  1. DD2118 (April 2017) approved the programme extension to March 2020, with the proposal that the existing staffing resource (one G10 and one G8) for the project would be extended and funding of £249,000 sought via the annual budget setting process. However, the programme had encountered some delays due to resourcing and staff changes, and funding was not sought in 2017.
  3. Considering that the programme has been extended twice (DD2118 and at the LEAP Board meeting in June 2018), there is now a need to request staffing budget to cover both 2019/20 and 2020/21. DEE Minor Programme Budget was sought to support this staffing requirement, and this was approved by then interim Executive Director of DEE, in August 2018:





G6 (FTE 1.0)



G10 (FTE 1.0)







Mayoral approval is now sought for expenditure of £210,000 from the DEE Minor Programme Budget to support the staffing required for 2019/20 and 2020/21.

Equality comments

Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA is subject to the public sector equality duty and must have ‘due regard’ to the need to (i) eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; (ii) advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not; and (iii) foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do. Protected characteristics under section 149 of the Equality Act are age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sex orientation, and marriage or civil partnership status (all except the last being “relevant” protected characteristics).

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 Londoners, and young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) or are risk of NEET aged 16 24 years old to pursue careers in tech, digital and creative industries.

The extension of the programme will maximise the opportunities for young people in currently under represented groups to enter the digital, tech and creative workforce.

Other considerations

Links to Mayoral strategies

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’. Per MD2040 of November 2016, the aim of the Programme is to help: “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 [it] will ensure more girls are supported to develop tech skills, so that we can turn around the under representation of women in tech jobs.”

Risks and Mitigation

Key risk associated with this proposal: insufficient staffing resources to manage the programme and ensure that it meets its objectives to time, quality and budget. Mitigation: staffing resources will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it meets project needs.


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

Financial comments

In relation to the programme extension to March 2021, all non-staff programme expenditure will be contained within the revised budget allocation of £6.5m approved by DD2118 (previously £7m).

However, the proposed extension has resulted in the need for staffing resource to support the extension amounting to £210,000 over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial-years (£100,000 & £110,000 respectively), which will be drawn-down from the DEE Minor Programme budget for each financial year.

Activity table



Set up Digital Skills Sub-Group (established as a subordinate body to the Skills for Londoners Business Partnership) to oversee the delivery and sustainability of the programme

September 2019 

Deliver Digital Careers stand at Skills London

November 2019

Interim Meta-Evaluation report

January 2020

End of delivery for all strands

December 2020

End of programme evaluation

March 2021

Final Meta-Evaluation report

March 2021

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