Business calls for a new digital community in Stockton at event with Alex Cunningham MP
London, Stockton, 27 January, 2023
Leading digital transformation company Atos UK and Ireland, in partnership with industry group techUK, today held a roundtable with Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, the Teesside Combined Authority, the NHS, education providers and local businesses to discuss creating a new ‘digital community’ in Stockton-on-Tees.
The event was part of a project launched by Atos called Innovating Up aimed at bringing business and government together to deliver on the Levelling Up agenda across the country by developing better digital skills and jobs for everyone.
Held at Stockton Arts Centre, the roundtable discussed how the town can develop local digital skills to bring high quality jobs into the area. Informed by research data from techUK’s Local Digital Capital Index, which suggests Tees Valley and Durham was 40th out of the 41 UK regions for its digital skills despite local R&D investment, the event forms part of an ongoing campaign to encourage politicians to focus on digital jobs that will improve pay, employment and productivity.
The event highlighted challenges to creating a digitally led economy in Stockton, but everyone agreed that focusing on digital skills and jobs had the potential to revitalise the local economy.
The discussion concluded that Stockton needs to campaign for more support from central government and business to develop its own digital community of local employers, financial institutions, local, regional and national government, and education providers to help design and develop place-based solutions to the digital skills gap Stockton and the rest of the country faces.
The group agreed that there was enormous potential for Stockton to develop its digital skills base and committed to working together to secure funding for skills.
Kulveer Ranger, Senior Vice President at Atos & techUK Board Member, said:
“With over 200 colleagues based in Stockton and more than 500 across the North East,
we see the enormous potential for bringing digital jobs and skills to the town and region.
New ways of working following the pandemic, combined with the potential benefits of
technology, have given this country a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change how
our economy works. As the Prime Minster recently highlighted, innovation and levelling
up are priorities for growing the economy and it’s been fantastic to hear from Mr
Cunningham about Labour’s commitment to digital skills and growth. It is only by
listening and working with local government and employers like us in communities
across the UK that we will identify locally based solutions to local problems. We need
these discussions happening across the country if we are to deliver the skilled jobs of the
future, right across the UK.”
Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, said: “I’m pleased to host this roundtable in partnership with Atos and techUK, here in Stockton town centre and with several significant organisations and businesses in attendance. Thanks to them for attending and taking part. All of us have a role to play in not just promoting places like Stockton on Tees as a potential home for digital and tech jobs, but in ensuring the skills are here so that local people benefit from these types of jobs, too.
“Our area has amassed a great deal of industrial knowledge over the years, and it’s clear
to me we have a basis that businesses and organisations like Stockton Borough Council
and Tees Valley Combined Authority can use as a starting point. We just need to make
sure these ambitions are matched by national government, not just in terms of funding
but also in a comprehensive industrial strategy that makes sure people are trained and
ready to take on these new roles. Only then will we see real levelling up; one that moves
beyond bricks and mortar and focuses on people and life chances.”
Matt Robinson, Head of Regions and Nations, techUK, said: “techUK is pleased to be working with Atos on ‘Innovating Up’. Our Local Digital Capital Index demonstrates the strength of the tech sector across the UK. For the UK, and importantly for areas like the North of East of England, to fully unleash ambition and potential we need to ensure the sector has a digitally skilled workforce to meet the needs of businesses, public services and our local economies. Atos is championing the sort of work that will bring sectors together to help drive change, innovation and digital transformation.”
Prominent local partners also made the case for current and future administrations to create and drive the creation of high-skilled digital jobs and build a dynamic digital community in Stockton.
Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with 112,000 employees and annual revenue of c. € 11 billion. European number one in cybersecurity, cloud and high-performance computing, the Group provides tailored end-to-end solutions for all industries in 71 countries. A pioneer in decarbonization services and products, Atos is committed to a secure and decarbonized digital for its clients. Atos is a SE (Societas Europaea) and listed on Euronext Paris.
The purpose of Atos is to help design the future of the information space. Its expertise and services support the development of knowledge, education and research in a multicultural approach and contribute to the development of scientific and technological excellence. Across the world, the Group enables its customers and employees, and members of societies at large to live, work and develop sustainably, in a safe and secure information space.
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