A PARTNERSHIP including Sky and Burberry has pledged to give young people in Leeds ‘behind the scenes’ access to the technology that powers their business.
Taking place on 5 May, ‘Leeds Unleashed’ will provide an opportunity to learn about the latest tech being used some of Leeds’ biggest tech-enabled employers.
It will also enable young people and career changers to engage with the technologists and other specialists responsible for driving each business forward in their respective sectors.
The partnership was initiated by xDesign and Leeds City Council after recent research found that 59% of young people in the city are considering a tech career.
However, two-thirds think that tech companies could do more to engage and nurture their digital aspirations.
Commenting on the launch of Leeds Unleashed, xDesign’s Head of Leeds Matt Ward said: “The so-called ‘digital skills gap’ is something we’ve been aware of for a long time thanks to a growing body of research and regular media reporting.
“However, having done our own research, we wanted to start taking action on the findings.
“Leeds Unleashed reflects a shared commitment from xDesign and its partners to inspire, inform and ignite a passion among young people for careers in tech.
“We’re going to be offering this unique opportunity to school, college and university students – along with career changers – in the wider Leeds area.
“We want to support all of these groups in discovering how they could one day shape Leeds’ already thriving tech sector.
“In addition, this ‘open doors’ event is all about showing how technology is a ubiquitous part of all of our lives as customers and employees, no matter what the sector.
“We really want to highlight the variety of roles available to curious individuals – tech businesses need a range of specialist expertise, not just those of software developers.
“By actually meeting the people behind the brands in welcoming and supportive environments, we believe that our target audiences will see the varied paths they can take when it comes to carving out a successful career.
Jonathan Sheldrake, VP, IT – Infrastructure & Services at Burberry, said: “Technology is a core pillar of Burberry’s international operations – particularly as global fashion markets get increasingly complex and competitive.
“Along with the initiative’s other partners, we know that Leeds has a vast wealth of untapped talent yet to be unleashed.
“As a result, we’re giving the city’s curious minds the opportunity to learn about our tech.
“[They will] engage face-to-face with our technologists and other specialists, and fully immerse themselves in the inclusive and diverse culture we’ve built here.
“Leeds Unleashed represents a real opportunity to invest in the future of the Leeds community, while giving us the potential to futureproof our business.
“As a partnership, it’s vital that we empower the next wave of tech talent today, so that they can breathe new life and ideas into our businesses tomorrow.”