The North has huge digital strengths and opportunities, including big data and data analytics, artificial intelligence, FinTech, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and health.
However there are also challenges in skills and connectivity we need to tackle so that digital can make its full contribution to economic competitiveness and inclusion.
COVID-19 has placed renewed emphasis on addressing these, with more people now working remotely and businesses in all sectors moving faster to adopt digital technologies.
The NP11 has undertaken initial research to understand the North’s digital strengths and opportunities and is developing a Northern Powerhouse Digital Proposition. This will set out the scale of the pan-Northern offer, as well as priorities to focus on in partnership with Government.
We want to unlock the potential of digital across the North to create new sources of growth and skilled jobs – not just in digital industries but across all sectors.
We support the recommendations of the UK Tech Cluster Group’s Roadmap for Recovery that digital support must respond to the specific needs of local areas and increase opportunities for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs to bring digital innovations to market.
Our other priorities include:
- Growing the North’s digital sector and strengthening supply chains
- Helping SMEs to adopt digital technologies and upskill their employees
- Spreading innovation and best practice by supporting northern tech industry networks
- Building a reliable, up-to-date evidence base about the North’s digital offer, so that leaders can take informed decisions
- Investing in broadband infrastructure to support individuals and businesses in all the North’s communities
- Developing digital skills programmes that respond to local needs and opportunities, covering both basic and advanced skills levels