JAC Media News: Newcastle Marketing Company
“We are smashing it, but there’s more work to be done.” That was the message delivered last night by Digital Union’s Jim Mawdsley as the region’s creative digital sector came together for the organisation’s yearly review.
The North East’s largest network of digital businesses were at the Wylam Brewery in Newcastle last night (Thursday 6th April) to showcase its member’s achievements since the creative digital business support agency Generator took over the Union’s reigns last year.
The evening saw Generator CEO Jim Mawdsley take centre stage to deliver a landmark speech at a time when the North East’s tech sector is firmly in the spotlight at a national and global level.
As Digital Union looks for new ways to fuel growth in the sector, he said: “We feel it’s been a great year for all the businesses that make up the sector and we are certainly growing in the North East. As we reported recently, the tech sector in the North East grew by 14.9% in 2015 – twice the national average and 4.1% ahead of London.
“22% of our businesses are in the high growth category – second in the UK and 2% more than London and the North East contributed £1.359 Billion in GVA to the UK economy last year.
“Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool combined only out perform us by £27 million. We are smashing it, but it’s not all good news, and we need to do more.”
The evening featured a panel of experts, which included Dominic Murphy of Sunderland-based digital recruitment innovators, Geek Talent. Despite the region’s outstanding Tech Nation Report results and its on-going growth, its guest speakers were keen to address the skills gap issue which many of the North East’s businesses are facing.
“New digital businesses are being created twice as fast as non-digital businesses, reaching 28% between 2010 and 2015,” said Dominic Murphy.
“Existing revenue growth during the same period is over 22% or £30 billion pounds – that’s the same as 19 new Sage’s being created in this period – that is phenomenal.
“Existing non-digital industries are being digitised at an even faster rate – just look at the public sector, manufacturing, banking – these are becoming automated and digitised at an extremely fast pace. We cannot keep pace with existing digital business growth never mind the rise in new technologies and industries.
“The city in third place in the whole of the country with the fastest rise in digital jobs – is Sunderland, yet we have less than 50% of schools with any computer science provision at GCSE level. Also, if your company doesn’t offer entry level roles, you are contributing to the skills gap.”
In his closing remarks last night concerning the future of Digital Union and the creative digital sector, Jim Mawdsley, added: “We want to be huge and we all need to work together. The councils, the entire education sector, and businesses all need to play their part and fight for it. We need strategies and the resource to make sure we can implement these strategies.
“To be huge we have to think big and everyone has to act big and kick the doors down to get to where we want and can be.
“We all need a Digital Union and thanks to our members, we have one!”
Image Caption: From L to R: Jim Mawdsley (Generator & Digital Union) Dominic Murphy (Geek Talent), Jennifer Barrett (TICE), Pete Daykin (Daykin & Storey), Billy Webber (Sunderland Software City), Jon Corbett (JAC Media)
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