The High Tech sector in the West of England, particularly in Bristol and Bath, is a national success story and now recognised as one of the two globally significant digital tech clusters in the UK. However, continuing to be a world leading digital economy means that business must have access to talent with the right skills to remain competitive, create growth and prepare for a future outside of the EU. Nearly 1 in 4 high tech businesses across the UK report that sourcing skilled talent is now a major business challenge.

“This is to plan for the next tech generation workforce”


The High Tech sector group in the Local Enterprise Partnership is holding a skills and networking event on the 3rd May at UWE in Filton to look at how the skills gap can be addressed.

“As part of the new Skills West programme and building on past High Tech immersion events, the workshop will look at skills challenges and opportunities within the region and develop action-based solutions to pilot new models as well as identifying funding to make them happen,” says Mike Bartley (pictured left), chair of the High Tech sector group and CEO of Test & Verification Solutions in Bristol. “This is to plan for the next tech generation workforce, maintain the region’s place as a significant cluster in the UK Tech landscape and plan for future skills needs.”

The Future Skills workshops aims to feed into the West of England High Tech future skills plan with input from industry to influence and shape training, improve recruitment from education and meet skills providers and businesses in the region.

The event will explore three key issues:

  • Diversity in high tech – How can we encourage greater diversity in the high tech sector? How can employers open up pathways for returners? – in particular women returning to work in STEM.
  • Increasing the take up of high tech apprenticeships – How do we overcome the barriers to apprenticeship take up in high tech? What would help business to see apprenticeships as a valid recruitment pathway? Are the current qualifications right for businesses in the region and if not then what can we do to change it.
  • Careers Support – How can we create more work experience opportunities in high tech? Can we make greater awareness of the opportunities and routes available in high tech?

The workshop and networking event will build upon the previous work at the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and will support a collaborative approach to the skills needs of the professional services industry. It will be followed up with an action plan and a future Skills West Day in July.

The long term aim is to ensure high quality, relevant and cost effective skills provision that meets the needs of employers.

You can sign up for the workshop here

Nick Flaherty