Social enterprise Agent Academy partners with University of Liverpool on digital training 

By Ant Boyle
30 May 2019

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Social enterprise Agent Academy has partnered with the University of Liverpool to deliver a digital skills training programme, funded by the Office for Students, to tackle challenges faced by commuter students.

Agent Academy, based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, is an industry-led, digital leadership development programme. Established as a solution to the issue faced by 18-25-year olds who find themselves, post-higher education, without the skills needed to begin their careers in the creative and digital industries.

The two-year, digital skills intervention programme, has been carefully designed with live-at-home students, commonly known as commuter students, in mind. The project has been created to supercharge the digital skills capabilities of a group of second-year students, setting them off on a journey to becoming digital specialists by the time they graduate.

A recent Tech City report found that the north is creating 10 times more digital jobs than in non-digital sectors. However, despite the availability of opportunities, many graduates still head south to the capital for post-graduate opportunities. The graduates that are most likely to stay local after graduating are of course those who never moved away in the first place, the commuter student.

Zoe Wallace, director of Agent Academy, said:

“We are delighted to partner with the University of Liverpool to deliver this first-of-its-kind programme. There are many barriers that can prevent young people from securing industry employment, and by working closely with industry to understand skills needs we can combat these challenges. During the programme the students will engage with 100s of industry leaders to find out what industry-specific digital skills needs they have and learning on the programme will be tailored to this need.

“The requirement for digital skills capabilities across all industries is growing at an unprecedented rate. Businesses are keen to retain the most highly skilled graduate talent from local universities and this programme will help to deliver this ambition for businesses whilst ensuring the students involved have the best opportunities that the city region has to offer.”

Paul Redmond, director of student experience and enhancement at The University of Liverpool, said:

“This is an innovative new programme that aims to provide commuter students from a wide range of disciplines with significant digital skills and knowledge to equip them for their future careers.

“It aims to address an identified digital skills gap between local employers demand for digital skills and the skills of current graduates. By partnering with local employers, we can address this recognised skills gap which will not only enhance our commuter students’ career prospects but also deliver economic impact for the benefit of our city and region.

“We are delighted to be one of only a number of universities awarded this funding to support our commuter students and help the local economy.”

Liverpool City Region is one of the UK’s fastest growing hubs for digital companies and there are plans to make it the most digitally connected city region in the UK. However, a recent report for the Northern Powerhouse cites digital skills gaps as a factor threatening the success of the regional digital economy which is worth £9.9 billion to the national economy and accounts for 5.2 per cent of the region’s GVA.

The Digital Graduate Accelerator programme is part of a £5.6million programme of projects awarded by the Office for Students to universities across England to boost opportunities for graduates who seek work close to home.

It is led by the University of Liverpool’s Careers & Employability and programme partners include Agent Academy CIC, Sci-Tech Daresbury, the Liverpool City Region Local Economic Partnership, Unilever, LAB by Capacity and MSB Solicitors.

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