Manchester Digital, the independent trade association for the North West’s digital sector, has released its updated strategy, developed to outline and steer its upcoming activity and ensure that it tackles the issues its members say matter to them the most.
Infrastructure, the digital ecosystem, skills, leadership, and profile and promotion are the key priorities, spun out of research undertaken by Manchester Digital’s council last year to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the digital tech industry in the North, and what interventions are needed to support its growth.
The organisation already has a significant footprint in the talent and skills development arena, but has now set out a series of additional development priorities that it will focus on over the next two years, including:
• Collaboration between different parts of the industry to encourage knowledge-sharing;
• A simplified procurement process and help for smaller companies to bid for larger projects;
• Providing a narrative that provides a true reflection of the North’s status and capabilities;
• Intervention to encourage retention of talent in the region, as well as in education to grow and develop the talent pipeline;
• Create a sustainable multi level mentoring scheme;
• Campaign to use the devolution opportunity to open up the infrastructure market.
The report also raises concerns that the work already being done in the region is under-represented by the public sector, and the fact that there is still a real lack of understanding about how it should support the industry.
Graham Benson, chair at Manchester Digital, said: “Our analysis of the digital sector comes as a number of big companies start to move their digital and tech teams here, demonstrating the pull of the region – Sainsburys and Bet365 being just a couple of examples. It’s now up to organisations like us to ensure the sector fulfils its potential.
“The research we undertook last year has been refined and has resulted in us deciding to prioritise these five areas of focus where intervention is required – areas where we believe we can make the most impact. Now we must agree an action plan to ensure that we optimise the results of the intense interest currently being focused on our region and work collaboratively with businesses, education, and the public sector to ensure we’re getting it right.”
In line with its refined focus, Manchester Digital has also been welcoming nominations for new council members. Nominations ran until 16th June and voting took place on the 23rd June, ahead of the new council announcement on 7th July.
Once elected, the new council will oversee the work the organisation does, which includes regular lobbying and efforts to tackle the current issues facing the growing digital sector.