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Digital Skills Partnership

The government is working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Combined Authorities (CAs) to help establish Local Digital Skills Partnerships (Local DSPs) across the country to tackle local digital skills challenges and build thriving and inclusive local economies.

In 2018, three Local DSPs were set up in Lancashire, Heart of the South West and the West Midlands. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) invited all other LEPs and Mayoral CAs to submit Expressions of Interest to form a Local DSP pilot. A further three regions were selected, including the South East (Read more here).

Trailblazers

The six Local Digital Skills Partnership trailblazers were allocated funding to employ a Regional Coordinator to coordinate the delivery of digital skills in their respective Local DSPs.

In July 2019, the South East LEP appointed James Wilkinson to coordinate its Digital Skills Partnership. James works collaboratively with both regional and national stakeholders to develop innovative models to improve digital skills across their regions, boost their local economies and share this best practice with other LEPs and CAs. Instrumental in the success of the Digital Skills Partnership across the region are the DSP partners themselves, who have come together, as representatives of the private, public and voluntary sector, as well as education at all levels, to drive improved digital skills across our region.

Here you can read more about our DSP priorities, our Co-Chairs, Working Group Leads and wider Digital Skills Partnership membership.

Meetings & Minutes

South East LEP Digital Skills Partnership – Co-Chairs and Working Group Leads
Date: Wednesday 18th June 2020
Venue: Online
Click here for the agenda


South East LEP Digital Skills Partnership – Steering Group
Date: Tuesday 30th June 2020
Venue: Online
Click here for the agenda

 


South East LEP Digital Skills Partnership – Steering Group
Date: Tuesday 15th September 2020
Venue: TBC
Click here for the agenda


South East LEP Digital Skills Partnership – Steering Group
Date: Tuesday 8th September 2020
Venue: TBC
Click here for the agenda


South East LEP Digital Skills Partnership – Steering Group
Date: Tuesday 12th February 2020
Venue: Discovery Park, Sandwich
Click here for the minutes


South East LEP Digital Skills Partnership – Steering Group
Date: Friday 18th October 2019
Venue: STEM Learning, Central London
South East DSP 181019 Minutes

DSP Members

Professor Melissa Hanna-Brown
Pfizer UK (Co-Chair)
Alison Parmar
Federation of Small Businesses (Co-Chair)
Kit Ahweyevu
Mindweaver AI
Louise Aitken
South East LEP
Neil Aitken
BT Group
Dave Cope
Jobcentre Plus
Vicki Crwys-Williams
Canterbury Council
Kelly Edwards
Harlow College
Murray Foster
Digital Southend Working Group
Richard Freeman
Always Possible
George Hedges
East Sussex College Group
Paula Hornett
Essex Provider Network
Kadine James
Hobs 3D
Nicki Kelly
South Essex College

Jane Knight
Successful Mums
Hannah Kopel
Essex County Council
Debbie Leach
HM Prisons & Probation
Debbie Lloyd
CXK
Pallavi Malhotra
Huawei
Waleed Malik
Jobcentre Plus
James Maltby
Plumpton College
Michaela Neild
Google UK
Jo Nolan
Screen South
Gloria Opara
Cyber Engineers
Will Pickford
Thurrock Adult Community College
Vanessa Potter
Sussex Council of Training Providers
John Revill
USP College
Sam Rhodes
East Sussex Council

Emma Rudd
Kent County Council
Karen Scott
FutureCoders
Ashleigh Seymour-Rutherford
Colchester Business and Enterprise Agency
Dr. Ajay Sharman
STEM Learning
Jonathan Smith
East Kent College
Rebecca Smith
Social Enterprise Kent
Olivia Suleman
South Essex College
David Taylor
DNASix
Graeme Tolley
Prince’s Trust
Clarissa Wheeler
NCFE
Patrick Whittock
Uttlesford CVS
Emma Wilcox
Creative Estuary
Jim Wilkinson
South East LEP

Our Priorities
DSP members agreed to focus on these five priority areas:
Support to Schools, Colleges and Universities to ensure that students leave with an understanding of the increasingly digital workplace and the skills to succeed there
Support to SME's to ensure that staff and leaders are equipped with the digital skills and knowhow they need to succeed and grow
Ensuring alignment between the local education offer in our region and the needs of businesses across Essex, Kent and East Sussex
Preventing our most vulnerable residents from facing increased digital and societal exclusion thanks to a lack of digital skills and connectivity
Production of a Digital Skills Prospectus for the South East LEP region, enabling people across Essex, Kent and East Sussex to access digital skills support wherever they are

Alison Parmar

Federation of Small Businesses

Co-Chair

Alison represents and develops the work of FSB, a not-for-profit membership organisation. Her role includes enhancing the profile of FSB through advocacy, media work and member support and engagement. Alison’s strengths lie in creating successful, collaborative teams and turning visions and ambitions into tangible goals and results. She has a wealth of experience in communications, PR and events; leading on multiple initiatives and establishing fresh internal processes to deliver business objectives. Alison has worked within the private and public sector.

Professor Melissa Hanna-Brown

Pfizer UK

Co-Chair

Melissa is based in Pfizer, Sandwich and is responsible for global co-ordination of Technology Strategy & External Partnerships Ecosystem for Pharmaceutical Sciences within Pfizer Worldwide Research, Development & Medical. Melissa also co-chairs Pfizers UK Diversity & Inclusion Board. Melissas career has traversed academic, charity and industry sectors and in 2018 she was named in the Top 30 Women Leaders in European Healthcare (Pharmaceutical Market Europe).

Dr. Ajay Sharman

STEM Learning

Support to Educators and Students – Working Group Lead

Dr Ajay Sharman is the Regional Network Lead for STEM Learning Ltd across the South East. Dr Sharman was previously Technical Director at University of Kent spin-out company Viridian, before joining Reckitt Benckiser as Global Technology Manager followed by a commercial role at the University of Oxford’s Begbroke Science Park. Dr Sharman has been a Chair of Governors at Parkside Community School in Canterbury for over eight years, as well as Chair and Vice Chair of Governors at The Whitstable School. He is currently a trustee at Dartford Science & Technology College and on the pool of Governors for Kent County Council.

Murray Foster

Digital Southend Working Group

Support to Educators and Students – Working Group Lead

Murray is Chair of Southend Business Partnership and the Digital Southend Working Group, as well as Chair of South East Essex Academy Trust, a multi-academy trust comprising of four schools, including Westcliff High School for Girls, a National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) Hub School, serving teachers in Essex and parts of London. Murray is also a Member and current Chair of the BEST Growth Hub Working Group.

Murray has extensive experience in business, local government and the third sector, having previously held senior management roles with Natwest/RBS, served as Cabinet Member at Southend Council, Vice Chair of Renaissance Southend URC, Director at Essex Chambers of Commerce, Chair of a regional housing association and Director at a national housing association. Murray also held the Vice Chair post for the Greater Essex Business Board, the Southend Association of Voluntary Services and Chair of the Digital Exploration Centre Trust.

David Taylor

DNASix

Support to SME’s –  Working Group Lead

David is a business communications specialist with over 25 years’ experience of the media, gained from a career in journalism, in-house media relations, PR, marketing, social media training and digital consultancy.

He has a proven track record in designing and implementing comprehensive business strategies to support digital transformation and business growth.

Today David works with a range of organisations, helping them to survive, compete and ultimately thrive in today’s digital marketplace using his trademarked business communications e-learning platform DNAsix®.

David also works with enterprise support organisations, training their teams of business advisors to use the same DNAsix® system to help SMEs across East Sussex, Kent, West Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.

Co-author of two books on digital marketing and social media he recently contributed to a third called The Social CEO.

Jane Knight

Successful Mums

Support to SME’s –  Working Group Lead

Jane Knight created Successful Mums Academy which has supported over 6,000 women returners through online training programmes.

The return to work, business start-up and digital online courses are delivered in partnership with a range of employers who embrace women returners and recognise the transferable skills this client group have to offer. Jane is a qualified trainer, coach and career advisor with a background in further education and policy. A regular runner and mountain climber, Jane and her team run monthly events raising funds for charity. You can follow the team across their social on Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Olivia Suleman

South Essex College

Education/Industry Alignment – Working Group  Lead

Olivia is Commercial Manager at South Essex College delivering specialised training and skills consultancy to a range of industry sectors.

Additionally Olivia undertakes strategic employer engagement and business development for the college connecting it to businesses, regional stakeholders and major projects across the region.

This work helps ensure the relevance of the colleges wider provision and informs the discussion around what skillsets industry needs both now and going forwards to support growth.

Olivia has extensive experience building bespoke training and most recently has developed a comprehensive training package for a major housebuilder moving into Offsite Construction to train around 140 operatives from scratch.

Will Pickford

Thurrock Council

Preventing Digital Exclusion –  Working Group Lead

Will Pickford is Vice Principal at Thurrock Adult Community College. He is passionate about improving the life chances of young people and adults and making sure that they have all of the skills and attributes they need to live happy and fulfilling lives.

After a very enjoyable but very poorly-paid career in hospitality management, Will has now amassed over 20 years experience in FE and Skills. He originally joined the FE sector as a lecturer in Business and, sensing the opportunities that technology could offer for education, became involved in the early Web 2.0 revolution. He spent 8 years working as National Director of the JISC Regional Support Centres and as Head of College and Provider Capacity at Becta, helping to shape digital policy and practice in UK education.

Will’s current role is focused on developing adult education in Thurrock and providing a “digital entitlement” that meets the needs of all of the residents of the Borough.

Will once took a (mid-life crisis) gap year during which he travelled around SE Asia on a Kawasaki Ninja, travel-blogging about his experiences – even before that was a thing. His post about the Khmer Empire and Angkor Wat went viral, showing that being entertaining yet informative is a good life philosophy!

Rhona Drever

East Sussex Council

Preventing Digital Exclusion –  Working Group Lead

Rhona Drever is Team Manager for East Sussex Libraries and Information Service, with responsibility for business planning, budget management, administration, stock and online and learning services. Rhona’s organisation has been developing their online services for some years and now have a great range of e books, e magazines, e newspapers etc but is very conscious that many local residents don’t have the equipment or skills to access these, resulting in a two tier offer.  Rhona and her team are committed to helping those who can’t get online and are digitally excluded from a wealth of information, advice and often essential access to services, through the offer of training, support and accredited qualifications and are also trialling a scheme to lend tablets with connectivity to those most in need.

James Maltby

Save the Children

Digital Skills Prospectus –  Working Group Lead

Dan Williams

Ginger Nut Media Ltd

Digital Skills Prospectus –  Working Group Lead

Dan is a Director at Ginger Nut Media Ltd (also trading as Ginger Nut Training). Ginger Nut Training is an independent training provider providing apprenticeship training across both the public and private sector, Ginger Nut Media which launched in 2011, Colchester, has worked with many of the largest advertising agencies in the country as well as a wide variety of direct clients, using direct ‘buy now’ advertising channels.

As a training provider, we started out as a digital marketing employer of apprentices,, which makes us a bit different to your usual training provider.

We used this unique insight, to launch Ginger Nut Training. We deliver apprenticeship training across various areas including but not limited to Digital Marketing, Data Analytics, Network Engineering and Digital Support Technicians.
With over 15 years personal experience of utilising digital skills in the media landscape, it’s reinforced our understanding of the importance of these employability virtues in the modern workplace and this has been our aim with embedding into the common workplace skills provided in our apprenticeship training provision across the region and nationally.

Kit Ahweyevu

Mindweaver

DSP Diversity Lead

Kit Ahweyevu is Founder and CEO at Mindweaver. At Mindweaver Kit works to help tackle the digital skills gap while bringing those from underrepresented, underutilised, and underemployed groups into the world of emerging technology. Kit focuses on supporting organisations and individuals to increase digital capability, build environments fuelled by diversity and inclusion; and explore how they might best ensure the participation of underrepresented groups in the world of digital technology and data.

Kit believes that diversity is an essential component of innovation and that unlocking and enhancing the potential of previously overlooked groups is key to increasing the productivity and mobility of the labour force. Kit is passionate about making a meaningful impact on the lack of diverse voices in senior leadership positions and dedicated to helping to build the pipeline from the bottom up.