As the largest digital bank in the UK, with more than 12m online active users and 8m mobile users, Lloyds Banking Group has partnered with Manchester Metropolitan University Business School and on 28th June, hosted a digital workshop, Discover Your Digital Future, for local year ten pupils.
The event included leading speakers from Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Accenture, TCS, BBC Make it Digital and iPlayer inventor Howard Simms from Manchester’s Apadmi.
Across the UK only a tiny proportion of students choose to study IT or Computing A-Levels, and only 8% of those students were female.
Politicians from all political parties recognise that the UK as a whole faces a digital skills crisis. (You can read the report of the cross-party House of Commons Science & Technology Committee.)
But if the UK is facing a digital crisis, then you could argue that the North of England is at risk of heading somewhere even worse.
According to data from the Joint Council of Qualifications, last year just 6,242 students in England chose to take an A-level in Computing, with only around 20% based in the North of the country.
With these sorts of figures, you’d be forgiven for wondering if young people in the region have the ability to prosper within a modern, digital economy.
It is also a concerning picture for tech clusters like Manchester. Latest figures from the Tech Nation report value the contribution of Manchester’s digital sector to the local economy at £2.9bn. There is a booming tech industry in this region now but it needs to be future-proofed.
These headwinds are something Lloyds Banking Group is taking seriously, launching the Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index. Now in its second year it is the largest measure of financial and digital capability of people in the UK. But while it’s important to know the scale of the challenge the country faces, the bank wants to do more than just measure the problem.
So, as a part of its Helping Britain Prosper plan and its commitment to the North of England, Lloyds Banking Group wants to increase the future pool of home-grown digital talent in Manchester.