Comments from Suzie Bell, Project Lead of Growing Talent Digital Leeds and Project Manager at Ahead Partnership
On Tuesday 24 October we were thrilled to welcome stakeholders from across business and education to the BJSS offices for ‘Growing Talent: Increasing social mobility in the Leeds Digital Sector’ an event to celebrate the successes of the last two years of Growing Talent Digital Leeds, and to update everyone on our future plans.
It was fantastic to see key players from across the city represented at the event, including speakers from our programme sponsors BJSS , Netcompany and Aire Logic Limited, our education partner Carr Manor Community School, our partner Arcadis and our stakeholders Leeds City Council and the 100% Digital Leeds team.
Our panellists spoke passionately about how leaders need to take responsibility for smashing the glass ceiling from the top down to create real diversity, a powerful image which highlighted why diversity in all forms is so important at the leadership level. We were joined by a representative from one of our sponsors who stressed the importance of social value work to attracting and retaining future talent. She shared that at her interview for her current role she asked, “What kind of social value does the organisation offer?” and the answer was a key factor in her decision to join the organisation.
We also gained a valuable perspective from education, as our teacher panellist explained that school curriculums struggle to keep up with the increasing pace of change within the digital sector. He stressed how integral it is for businesses to engage with and advise schools if they want to close the skills gap and expect a skilled workforce in the future.
Our esteemed programme sponsors also spoke about the positives that being involved in Growing Talent Digital Leeds has brought to their organisation and told us the sense of responsibility they feel as a locally founded employer to impact long term change for the city’s young people, and how much more they have been able to achieve being part of the Growing Talent programme managed by Ahead Partnership. Anchor sponsors of the programme receive annual bespoke reporting on their impact and they highlighted how crucial that is to their social value strategy.
One of the key themes of the event was the power of collaboration to effect long term change. The 100% Digital Team collaborated with us on a social action project focused on digital inclusion in 2023 and highlighted how useful it was for them to work with young people as a consultation piece and the insight this provided for their team. This unique project showcased how youth consultation and youth voice activities can be incorporated into the programme to benefit young people and organisations by empowering young people to share their ideas and input.