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Successful Digital Hub Learning and Careers Fair

On Wednesday 9 November, WAES joined leaders from across the technology sector as well as existing learners and prospective candidates from Westminster and around Greater London, to showcase the opportunities that the Westminster Digital Hub provides.

Westminster Digital Hub is an innovative new partnership of training providers, digital employers, local authorities and third sector organisations aiming to get Londoners into good, well-paid work in the tech sector, as well as to break down barriers and increase inclusivity in the digital workplace.

The event's aim was to bring together employers and people interested in a digital career, to network and share experiences at the Hub's home in WAES Pimlico.

We heard from a distinguished panel of speakers including:

  • Harry Morgan, UK Skills for Jobs Lead at Microsoft
  • Daniel Rankine, Head of ICT and Digital at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • Mike Craig, Head of Business Development at GK Apprenticeships / Skillsoft

Nearly 100 people joined, across our Digital Hub classrooms and also online. Alison Muggridge, WAES's Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Quality, warmly welcomed guests and explained the steps being taken by the Greater London Authority to fund the project in order to support the talent of tomorrow into long-term digital employment.

Digital Hub Co-ordinator Candice Fanning and Digital Employment Coach Eden Palmer-O'Connor were on hand to answer questions on what courses are available to help people build up the skills needed to work in the sector, whether in web design and development, user experience (UX), digital project management or software development.

They joined the panel in discussing the power of inclusive workplace strategies, and wider changes taking place within the sector.

Raymond Harte, course leader for the AWS re/Start bootcamp at WAES, talked through the meaning of cloud services and how they are being used by organisations across all sectors. This included an explanataion of web servers, database servers​, computation and storage services, ​security and analytics services, and the benefits of cloud computing for organisations.​ The bootcamp is a 12-week intensive study programme taught ​Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm in person at our Pimlico Centre, enabling learners to engage with practice labs and gain hands-on experience needed for the workplace.

Fully-funded places are available through the Mayor’s Academies Programme whose mission it is to help to deliver the key actions of the Helping Londoners into Good Work mission. One of the main aims of this is to support Londoners disproportionately impacted by the pandemic to access jobs in the digital sector, including those who are newly unemployed as well as people facing barriers to employment who are underrepresented in these sectors.

Digital skills are increasingly in demand across all levels and sectors. These can include a range of training, skills and qualifications – for example, computing and ICT, coding and cyber-security, digital media, the use of smart technologies and data analysis.

WAES proudly offers an essential digital skills entitlement which will help address digital exclusion faced by many Londoners who need to learn digital fundamentals for their lives and careers.

Candice Fanning stated: 'These skills will become increasingly valuable across a range of sectors, including skills in areas such as coding and cyber-security. We are here to empower the digital landscape of tomorrow so that they are ready for jobs available now or even those that do not yet exist. Luck is nothing more than opportunity and readiness. We are here to make sure you have those skills and are employment ready!'

Learners' voices were never far from the centre of the action as our guest speakers introduced themselves and the described the scale of digital possibilities within their organisations and many others. In doing so, Daniel, Harry and Mike joined a vital conversation on the role employers must play to meaningfully champion London's digital employment opportunities.

Here are some quotes from learners and guests at the event:

'I feel completely empowered by what I have heard today, and to be able to discuss employment with powerhouses like Microsoft and the Head of ICT and Digital at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea doesn't happen every day! Thank you to WAES for this opportunity.'

'I felt my age was against me as a woman in my 50s, so I was feeling it was too late to retrain. However, after hearing about an AWS learner who has now gained employment at 71 years of age, I now see that this is a growing sector with room for everyone and ample opportunity to transfer my skills. I will be applying for the next AWS cohort.'

'All Londoners deserve to have the chance to thrive and reach their potential. Thank you WAES.'

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