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The future is digital, so how do we prepare?

spent on digital R&D by UK businesses in 2020
investment raised by 259 startups post-engagement with Digital Catapult in past 5 years
extra jobs in the creative industries commited by 2030
new digital businesses created as part of the Immex City pilot programme

UK skills development should strike a balance between boosting technical skills, transferable skills and upskilling the existing workforce.

As part of the Digital Catapult led Made Smarter Digital Supply Chain Hub, the Future of Supply Chain Labs is being delivered by Deloitte & EDGE Digital Manufacturing. This programme will help UK SMEs develop skills and strategies, realising the potential of digitalising supply chains and increasing productivity and competitiveness through deep tech. So far, over 100 innovative businesses have been engaged, leveraging over £15m of investment to develop technology-led solutions to tackle supply chain problems and build adoption-ready use cases.

Digital Catapult’s FutureScope programme upskills UK tech entrepreneurs by developing knowledge of key emerging technologies (e.g. 5G, Quantum, AI) while Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow programme, delivered by Digital Catapult in 2021 and 2022, helps empower and upskill 16-25 year old future innovators in entrepreneurship, creative design and future tech. These challenge-led programmes are helping close the digital skills gap through retraining, upskilling and demystifying emerging technologies.

These partners then have the ability to embed new tech rapidly and to equip the future workforce with specialist skills early on, giving both entry-level and existing workers the ability to strengthen their careers.

In the North East, Digital Catapult led the Immex City programme, delivering a range of activities to support the scale-up potential of the North East’s immersive technologies sector and build on the region’s strengths in games and creative content. The programme supported cross-sector SME’s to develop immersive skills, enabling new understandings of the ways games engines can be applied in different business contexts.

Digital Catapult has launched new facilities to drive future skills for innovation and R&D activity in advanced media production (AMP). The AMP studios use motion and camera tracking, LED screens and real-time rendering engines to enable live-action experiences across the film, TV and broader creative sectors.

As technologies continue to converge, Digital Catapult is exploring how the skills needed for the UK’s creative and manufacturing industries are advancing, and what careers and skills requirements will emerge to ensure that these key sectors of the UK economy remain globally competitive.

Working in partnership with Innovate UK’s Workforce Foresighting Hub, the digital foresighting exercise has highlighted 124 capabilities needed in the advanced media production (AMP) workflow and 16 new Future Occupational Profiles. This is incredibly exciting, as it now gives us the chance to work with training providers and employers to understand how to best address these upcoming skills needs with the fast evolutions of technologies that make AMP.

Ashmita Randhawa
Head of Innovation, Digital Catapult North East & Tees Valley