Microsoft Boosts West Midlands with Digital Skills Initiative

Not too many specifics yet, but tech titan has partnered with the West Midlands Combined Authority for this multi-year plan.

The West Midlands gets some handy help as Microsoft has revealed a new joint initiative for digital skills in the region and the financial investment to support it.

Microsoft has partnered with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) for this multi-year initiative.

The idea is to try and build on the legacy of the Commonwealth Games (that recently finished in Birmingham), WMCA’s regional digital skills bootcamp offer and Microsoft’s own nationwide Get On campaign to help 1.5 million people in the UK build a career in technology.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, and Microsoft announced the initiative at an event hosted by the West Midlands Growth Company to celebrate the completion of the Games.

Street comments: “A key part of my mayoral mission is to equip our local residents – particularly our young people – with the digital skills that will enable them to succeed in the 21st century economy as well as enjoy a great quality of life alongside their families.”

He adds: “Together with Microsoft’s expertise and funding, we will connect talent from across our region with the high-quality jobs of the future – supercharging my 100,000 jobs plan and putting the might of a major global employer behind a sector with immense potential to support growth in our region in the months and years ahead.”

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There are no specifics about how much funding Microsoft will cough up, but the tech firm reckons the West Midlands has the fastest growing tech economy in the UK.

The region is doing quite well and eWeek UK recently highlighted some ‘Tech Companies in West Midlands to Watch’ here.

The new joint initiative will identify the most in-demand roles in the area and the skills needed to secure them, working with the combined authority, business and academia to assist existing skills programmes in the region and create new programmes where there are unmet needs.

The WMCA wants to grow digital talent and create 35,000 new jobs and skills opportunities in the region.

With the Games on its mind, Microsoft is also offering training to any of the 14,000 Birmingham 2022 volunteers and workforce who would like to explore a career in technology.

In other good news for the region, BT’s Digital team said last month it will recruit 2,800 more staff in the UK and India.

The new UK colleagues BT plans to onboard (1,000 approximately) will be around its hub sites in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Belfast, Ipswich and London, with the majority of new UK digital talent based outside London.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.

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