DYNAMO, the region’s tech champion, is recruiting a new team to deliver a Digital Talent Engine for the north east.

The project is part of the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s £12m Digital Growth and Innovation Programme designed to grow the region’s tech sector. The programme aims to create jobs hundreds of jobs in a ‘digital ecosystem’ of mutually supportive tech businesses and organisations. In addition to the £12m Programme, NCTA has allocated a further £7m for a 5G and a Future Connectivity Fund.

The plans include providing £5m to support start-ups and unlock the potential of digital and tech businesses, working with partners including Dynamo and Innovation SuperNetwork.

Dynamo Director Cate Kalson explained: “Our Digital Talent Engine is about campaigning to inspire and encourage people to get into digital and technology careers from a range of starting positions. Research that we have done indicates many people outside of the industry do not understand the breadth of opportunities available and consider roles in tech to be out of their reach. We want to change this.

“The Talent Engine is part of NTCA’s drive to grow the region’s tech ecosystem – in order to support the sustainable growth of the regional sector we need employers in the region activity playing a role in developing the region’s digital and technology skills and we need to more effectively communicate about the opportunities available in a way that engages diverse audiences and communities.

“Our NCTA funding of £380,000 over the next three years will be match funded by sponsorship and support from partners and stakeholders.

“The funding enables us to put together a project team to drive us forward and we’ve already started recruitment activity. We need a dedicated, full-time project lead and at least another two part-time people to look at areas such as events, marketing and promotion, and diversity and inclusion,” said Cate.

“We’re really excited to have started the project, which will be overseen by an expert panel of business and education leaders that will help steer what we’re doing as well as monitor performance,” she added.

Dynamo’s Digital Talent Engine has five main ambitions:

  • To create a digital platform and digital assets to help prospective job candidates better understand digital career pathways and find opportunities within the regional tech sector that match their skills;
  • To deliver outreach campaigns and events to reach target audiences;
  • To establish a high-profile regional hiring portal for digital roles, supporting businesses in the region to attract diverse applicants to apply;
  • Work with employers and training providers and educational organisations to develop new training programmes;
  • Nurture early-career and new-to-digital talent who take up roles by creating a stronger community and network for them.

Dynamo Chair Charlie Hoult added: “The Digital Talent Engine has huge potential to clear a bottleneck within the sector. More than 20 per cent of job openings in Newcastle are digital and it is estimated there are currently more than 4,000 vacancies in the Dynamo digital network in which more than 40,000 people are employed.

“So the main thing that can slow down our digital boom – which shows no sign of slowing anytime soon – is the right talent in the right numbers.

“Our Talent Engine will attract new talent into the sector, creating a much-needed pipeline. It will do so by co-ordinating what is already being done in this area, and working with employers and education providers to highlight the myriad of tech jobs on offer and all the different skills that can get you access to the sector.

“The Talent Engine will work with the Dynamo clusters to understand the core talent needs from employers within each cluster and ensure that these are addressed within the development of the Talent Engine project. For example, we can envisage an outreach event focused on attracting people into digital roles within the NHS.”

Dynamo North East is a business-led organisation with the core mission of ‘Growing the north east tech economy through collaboration, innovation, skills and noise.’ With more than 160 members, it is made up of IT organisations, large corporate employers in the region, consultants, technology hubs, education providers, local government and suppliers to the industry.

Dynamo is part funded by the ERDF as part of the Catalysing Innovation 2021-23 in North East Clusters project, delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork.