There is not enough tech talent in the pipeline and the North East tech sector could strongly benefit from more faces. Let's face it, we’re not saying anything new here. But with our latest skills campaign, we're looking at ways we can help employers widen the net and better nurture the emerging talent pipeline.

Future talent

Let's start with the younger generation. By raising awareness of local employers and opportunities in digital/tech, young people can become inspired to learn the skills required to pursue rewarding regional technical careers. Digital technology is already an intrinsic part of the daily lives of young people, and we've found that buzzwords such as “virtual reality” are already well understood among this generation. However, there is still a lack of awareness about the range of careers that can be pursued within tech locally. In addition to raising awareness, we know there is not enough opportunity for young people to develop industry experience to enable them to "hit the ground running" when applying for their first entry-level role.

By raising awareness of local career pathways and creating learning opportunities, we can help develop the emerging talent pipeline. There are lots of initiatives already within schools and colleges, and through our own Inspire North of Tyne and Digital Careers Sunderland programmes, we actively connect employers with young people.

But we can’t do this without the help of amazing businesses who are able to talk about their work in classrooms through presentations (delivered by a diverse range of employees), or who open their doors for student site visits, or could facilitate industry experience opportunities! 

Emerging work talent

It’s not just young people who can become a valuable part of the incoming talent pipeline. If we want to create opportunities in tech for a wider range of individuals and support economic growth across localities, we also need to look at developing emerging talent in other ways. For example, we could help adults from non-technical backgrounds explore pathways into this industry.

Again, there is a range of skills and employment programmes operating in our region to help individuals enter a variety of sectors, including tech. One of those programmes is our Go Reboot Plus initiative, which works with adults in parts of Newcastle and North Tyneside to help them develop initial tech skills (such as web development) and learn more about the local recruitment scene.

Alongside confidence and skills development, one of the fundamentals of Go Reboot Plus is raising awareness of local tech employers and opportunities. This includes destigmatising apprenticeships (they're not just for young people) and raising awareness of roles in the tech industry that are not targeted at senior experience levels. To support this, we've invited employers to facilitate mock interviews and/or deliver industry insights workshops or work experience opportunities. Can you help?

More experienced emerging talent

Even at the more skilled levels, there are plenty of individuals who are ready to enter the world of tech but who could benefit from a small boost to transition into more advanced digital roles. Think of individuals who have studied technical degrees or who have previously worked in tech, but who are currently in non-technical roles. They need a little support, for example through a qualification or a short course, to be able to compete with other candidates.

For this type of emerging talent, we are incredibly proud to be supporting the Department for Education's Digital Skills Bootcamps. These funded bootcamps are delivered by a consortium of colleges and training providers across the region, through digital/tech courses that help tech-savvy individuals upskill their know-how and gain a guaranteed interview with an employer. The courses are tailored around the needs of the employer to better bridge skills gaps in their own workplaces. So if you’re looking to hire talent in a particular area, please get in touch, and we may be able to work with the consortium to deliver a course around this area to help you recruit new talent.

Get involved

Of course, we can’t open up tech just by labelling and boxing different types of talent. The above are mere examples of how we are currently supporting emerging talent here at Sunderland Software City.

There are plenty of other brilliant initiatives both inside and outside of the region that are making a massive impact on skills every single day. We welcome them and, when the opportunity arises, collaborate with them or support signposting.

And that’s what it’s really all about. To collaborate as a region; whether you’re a skills provider, a school, or an employer. For employers, specifically, we’d like to ask you to think of how you could help create more opportunities for those from outside the tech sector, helping them enter the world of North East tech for the first time. As aforementioned, that doesn’t have to be through recruitment. That can be by just contributing to inspiring young people into STEM careers or by raising awareness of local career pathways.

For more information, and to get involved with one of our skills programmes, please email our Head of Skills, Jill McKinney, at