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Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (HEY LEP) Humber Local Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP) has today been officially recognised by the Government for its ongoing work – and will now be incorporated into an official pilot scheme for digital skills partnerships.

The Humber LDSP has been recognised as a best practice exemplar as an independently funded and managed Digital Skills Partnership.

As a result of the significant work undertaken by the steering group to date, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has acknowledged the impact made by the group over the last 18 months by incorporating the Humber Digital Skills Partnership into DCMS’s officially funded programme for the next 12 months.

The announcement was made live at the Leeds Digital Festival on Thursday afternoon, by DCMS Minister Chris Philp MP.

The Humber LDSP began in March 2020, following research undertaken that highlighted the need to address future digital skills demands, due to growing automation and digitalisation in the region. The Covid-19 pandemic has since seen unprecedented accelerated digital growth with a rapid reliance on various digital platforms as a way to navigate through the crisis.

The Humber was the first independent Digital Skills Partnership in the country and brings together public, private and third sector organisations to help increase the digital capability of individuals, businesses and organisations in the Humber.

Digital Skills Partnerships stem from a 2017 commitment within the UK government’s Digital Strategy, which aims to provide everyone with access to the digital skills required to meet the rising needs of industry resulting from the impact of future disruptive innovation in digital technologies.

Closely aligned with the aims of the DCMS, the LEP’s ambition, was to replicate best practice models set by the seven established DCMS funded Digital Skills Partnership pilots across England, to bring together knowledge, expertise and employer engagement from across the Humber region, to consider current and future digital skills needs and intelligence and develop a proactive and targeted response.

The announcement of financial and strategic support from DCMS means that the Humber Local Digital Skills Partnership can continue its vital work for another 12 months, and will also benefit from networking opportunities with some of the world’s largest tech sector organisations at a time when digital skills have never been more important.

The University of Hull recognised the importance of tackling the digital skills issues facing the region and the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, Professor Becky Huxley-Binns, stepped forward to Chair the Humber LDSP.

Welcoming the announcement, Prof Huxley-Binns said: “As Chair of the Humber Local Digital Skills Partnership, I am delighted that the Department for Digital Media Culture and Sport has recognised the work of the independent Humber Local Digital Skills Partnership. This announcement places a welcome spotlight on the region and acknowledges the importance of the great work being done by the local partnership to identify and tackle digital skills needs and maximise digital careers opportunities across the Humber.

“The partnership brings in key voices from industry, as well as the third sector, to share best practice and identify opportunities. The partnership recently collaborated with the LEP’s Growth Hub to develop a Digital Capabilities Tool for SMEs, aimed at identifying employer needs along with signposting to providers who are able to fill digital skills gaps. The recent announcement of support by DCMS means that we can continue this important work at a critical time.”

James Newman, Chair of HEY LEP, said: “I am thrilled that the hard work of the Humber LDSP over the last 18 months has been recognised by the Government, and that the steering group will now have all the advantages of becoming an official pilot scheme, adopted by DCMS.

“HEY LEP is focused on ensuring everyone in our region has the skills they need to succeed in work and strong digital skills are an integral part of this. For businesses to grow, develop and be resilient they also need to adopt digital ways of working and the Humber LDSP has worked tirelessly to support these aims across our region.”

For more information on DCMS’s LDSP Pilot scheme, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/digital-skills-partnership