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Sage’s “transformational” £1.4million investment in digital skills


A 3-year programme which will help 90,000 young people in the North East with digital skills has been called “transformational” by the UK Treasury.

Sage has invested £1.4m in the scheme and partnered with Newcastle United Foundation, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and National Innovation Centre for Data, to enable young people to access technology skills training and sustainable careers.

The programmes will include tech workshops and learning around AI, VR and robotics.

This morning, Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said:

“This transformational investment in the North East will help 90,000 young people get the skills they need to pursue successful digital careers. We know that jobs based on digital skills boost pay by an average of £8,000 a year.

“Providing people with a better chance at getting those jobs is how we build a high skill, high productivity economy with opportunities for all.”

According to Tech Nation, as of February 2021, the North East technology sector was the biggest hiring sector in the region with a pipeline of start-ups and fast-growing tech businesses, however, there is a skills shortage in the UK.

“Whether you want to start your own business or play a role in one, digital skills are essential to business success. Sage is committed to knocking down barriers by addressing the digital skills gap to empower people to join and build the businesses of the future,” said Paul Struthers, MD, UKI, Sage.

“We want to inspire and support more young people to develop STEM skills, and together with our partners we will help tackle this challenge; unlocking the extraordinary potential of the region and ensuring we have a strong pipeline of regional talent.”

Sage itself was founded 40 years ago by Newcastle University graduates and has grown to become one of the country’s biggest technology companies.

With the Newcastle United Foundation, Sage will provide tech support to disadvantaged and disengaged young people, with the intention to boost their “ambition, confidence, and motivation to achieve.”

“We are thrilled that Sage have agreed to become our first ever ‘Technology Partner,’ helping us transform the way school children and young people transition from education to careers as part of our NUFutures programme,” added Sarah Medcalf, Deputy Head of Newcastle United Foundation.

“Together, we will introduce young people to career possibilities in the technology sector, through mentoring, personal development and innovative virtual reality scenarios in a growing number of STEM roles available across the region. Sage will also be our lead partner for an annual STEM event held at NUCASTLE attended by over 2000 school children.

“Supporting the next generation to explore skilled careers in a purpose-built facility on their doorstep is key and we are proud to be leading the way for scientists, engineers, mathematicians, technology and digital experts of the future.”

With the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), it is setting up a programme to give 14k school children in the most deprived areas of the region access to STEM education.

It’ll be delivered through FIRST® LEGO® League, using robotics and Lego to inspire them.

“We are delighted to partner with Sage to help bring our FIRST® LEGO® League programme to more young people in the North East, providing them with the opportunity to learn and develop their STEM skills whilst having fun at the same time,” explained David Lakin, Head of Education, Safeguarding and Education Policy at the IET.

“Thanks to Sage’s generous support, the IET is able to inspire and inform more young people as part of our mission and raise awareness of STEM careers to help engineer a better world for us all.”

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