Let’s Get Digital

10 Sep 2018

Business Business School Featured

In January we brought you news of an exciting new development going on at our Hardshaw Street building, the previous home of Starting Point, our Information, Advice and Guidance service.

Over the last nine months a transformation has been underway thanks to funding secured from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Local Growth Fund, and very soon the doors will open at Clickworks, a new centre for all things digital in St Helens.

Clickworks aims to create a strong digital community and be the catalyst for change in St Helens, by connecting business with the resources, skills and talent they need to succeed, whilst providing an interactive and supportive space for people in St Helens to improve their digital skills.

Kath Boullen, Chief Executive of St Helens Chamber explains: “St Helens Chamber has always been at the forefront of delivering skills and services to help local businesses and people succeed, supporting our core mission to enhance the economic success of St Helens.

“In the modern workplace, digital skills are essential for business to thrive. We recognised that there was a significant need to improve the digital landscape of St Helens, so we set out develop and provide a new service that will build the digital capabilities needed, to sustainably enhance St Helens for the future.

“Through the support of funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the Department for Education, we are delighted to be able to launch this new digital training facility and a wide range of highly flexible digital training. We have also received support from Pilkington and St Helens Council.”

In March the Chamber successfully bid for funding from the Department of Education to deliver a project called the Flexible Learning Fund, which will fund free digital training for both people currently in work and those looking to return after a break from work.

Kath Boullen comments: “Businesses have been telling us for some time that they are struggling to find staff with suitable digital skills to meet the requirements of their businesses, particularly in some sectors which may not typically be considered ‘digital’, such as logistics and care.

“Thanks to this funding we are now in a position to help address these skill shortages and a number of local firms have already signed up to receive a programme of flexible training for their staff, delivered at times and venues to suit their businesses.

“In addition we will be providing training for people thinking about returning to work. With such rapid changes in technology it doesn’t take long for digital skills to become outdated.

“We hope that by updating these skills people will feel confident in returning to work. We understand that ‘returners’ may have a variety of backgrounds, skill levels and previous work history, and that their future ambitions vary enormously, but this group also represents a reservoir of untapped talent, which could the be key to filling businesses skills gaps.”

The Clickworks team will be reaching out to offer digital skills training, at time and venues to fit around people’s lifestyles.

To help make digital skills accessible to everyone in St Helens, Clickworks will offer a range of facilities and equipment for people to use, including cutting edge technology such as 3D printing and virtual reality.

Kath adds: “We are really looking forward to welcoming local digital and creative businesses to Clickworks, to see the facilities available to them and get to know the other businesses in the sector in St Helens.

“We hope that Clickworks will become not only a place for digital skills, but also a hub for the growing local digital community, taking away the need to go to Liverpool or Manchester to meet with others in the sector.”