Following data collected as part of “The Future of Digital Skills Needs in the UK Economy, O2 & Development Economics” which revealed Britain needs an additional 745,000 individuals with digital skills to cope with demand, a new initiative has been developed.
The Digital Business Academy, run in tandem by Tech City UK and University College London (UCL) will help those looking to start, grow or join a digital business.
According to a statement, the launch represents the first time a government-aided massive open online course (MOOC) has been produced to provide people of all ages and backgrounds the possibility of moving forward in digital business.
Programme partners such as the BBC, Microsoft Ventures and Unruly have signed up to endorse what will be run, and will in turn be providing paid internships, mentoring, startup support and co-working space.
Each course at the Digital Business Academy will last between three and six weeks and will feature elements of business development, marketing, branding and finance.
For prime minister David Cameron, the Digital Business Academy will open up the UK’s “great universities” and provide know-how to help “hardworking people”. Online courses will be run by Cambridge University Judge Business School, UCL and Founder Centric.
Cameron added: “We have put coding into the school curriculum and our rollout of super-fast broadband, backed by over £1bn government investment in our digital infrastructure, has now passed more than 1.5 million homes and businesses and is reaching 40,000 more each week.”
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Amongst the courses on offer will be one on turning your idea into a digital business (held at UCL), building a brand (at Judge Business School) and how to run a digital marketing campaign (at Founder Centric).
Those completing course will receive digital badges and digital certificates, which, when built up, can then be used to secure rewards from programme partners such as Hootsuite, Seedcamp and Microsoft Ventures.
Anand Krishna, UK country lead and general manager, App Platform, at Microsoft Ventures, said: “Being part of one of the largest tech companies in the world, it’s easy to see that scale is something a lot of startups struggle with. The Digital Business Academy helps give founders the business skills they need to grow and we’re delighted to be part of it.”
The Digital Business Academy is the latest initiative run out of Tech City UK, an organisation founded in 2010 to aid the technology cluster in the east of London. Other programmes include its Future Fifty batch of promising growth companies and Internet of Things Launch Pad.
Joanna Shields, chair of Tech City UK and digital adviser to the prime minister, commented: “Whether you are a mother returning to the workplace or a new graduate full of ideas, securing top-notch digital and technical skills is essential.
“The Digital Business Academy will open up digital opportunities to people irrespective of age, background or pre-qualifications. For anyone who wants to learn, we provide the practical skills you need to start your own digital business or to thrive in any digital company.”
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