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Nominet Invests to Narrow Young People Digital Skills Gap

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Nominet, the profit with a purpose company, best known for running the .UK internet infrastructure, has launched the third phase of its pioneering digital skills training programme, Nominet Digital Neighbourhood, in Cardiff. Unlike other programmes, the initiative provides digital skills training with a difference, offering training and paid work experience to young people aged 18-24 with digital skills but limited professional networks and opportunities, and connects them with local SMEs, to help them both prosper online. To date, Nominet Digital Neighbourhood has trained over 100 young people and successfully matched them with SMEs. Nominet’s aim is to double these numbers for the programme in 2018.

Nominet Digital Neighbourhood will take place at Cardiff and Vale College in Cardiff in the w/c 17th September, with the course facilitated by Nominet’s project partner Livity, the youth-led creative network. Research conducted by Nominet found that more than a quarter of 18-24 year olds in Cardiff (28%) find it very difficult to find work experience, and that more than half (55%) would be forced to rely on personal savings to fund their time if they were to gain a two week work experience placement. Employment figures in Wales have hit record highs recently*, so the scheme will build on this by helping more of Cardiff’s young people to upskill in key areas and get a foot on the career ladder. Further sessions have taken place in London, Glasgow, Exeter and Preston over the previous three months.

Each young person will embark on a two-day training course with a qualified expert covering social media skills, Google AdWords and SEO, and will also be advised on the importance of creating online profiles to promote their services such as LinkedIn and The Dots. At the end of the second day of training, students will meet and be matched with a suitable local SME that requires their skills for a paid work experience placement. Each young person partnered with a local SME will be paid in line with the London Living Wage and meetings will take place to fit in with both parties’ needs. Depending on the business’s need, the placements with the SMEs are between six and 12 hours over a two-week period.

Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet says:

“We have a long history of supporting initiatives that contribute to a vibrant digital future that is connected, inclusive and secure for all. A focus for us is helping young people improve their digital skills to increase their life chances. While Nominet Digital Neighbourhood may seem a small project compared to others, it is a pioneering approach to meet the demands of digital transformation and help address the digital skills gap in the UK.  If not, we face playing a dangerous game of catch-up which could be disastrous not only for individuals and SMEs, but the UK digital economy.”

Lilli Reuel, student and Nominet Digital Neighbourhood ambassador for 2018, said:

“As someone who is on a sandwich course from university, this is such a unique opportunity for me to get paid work experience, while acquiring freelance skills at the same time. It helps me to value my skills, build confidence and make valuable business contacts. There are so many ways in which young people such as myself can help local businesses in my area, more schemes like this need to happen.”

Ellie Bradley, COO, Nominet says:

“We’ve continued to develop this programme, learning from and keeping front of mind what young people want from work. There is a huge pool of untapped talent that businesses can benefit from, and we’ve created a programme that is completely new in its approach and can benefit young people, local communities and the UK economy as a whole.  The ambition is that other funders and companies can replicate Nominet Digital Neighbourhood anywhere in the UK, as we all work towards building a strong UK digital economy and develop new approaches to support digital transformation.”

A profit with a purpose company, Nominet has supported hundreds of tech-for-good projects, donating £45m to positively impact over 10m people since 2008. Other initiatives focused on helping advance digital skills among young people include Nominet being a founding patron of the Prince’s Trust Online portal, helping it to marry its traditional face-to-face approach with digital products and services, for young adults. Another is its work with the Micro:bit Foundation as founding partner, which is helping to promote STEM and develop digital skills in schools.