ANOTHER key part of the West Yorkshire devolution deal has been delivered through the launch of the West Yorkshire Local Digital Skills Partnership.

The partnership will bring together digital advocates and key leaders from business, education, local communities and the third sector to form a collaborative partnership to support the region’s vision to transform lives through digital tech.

The launch of the Local Digital Skills Partnership took place on Thursday, and heard from leaders from across politics, business and the third sector with discussions focusing on the importance of digital skills to the West Yorkshire economy; the importance of SMEs and evolving digital skills; growing the workforce for the future and building a sustainable, inclusive economic recovery.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and skills lead, said: “The West Yorkshire Local Digital Skills Partnership is fantastic initiative that will bring together key leaders from across our region to support the growth of digital skills by reducing the digital divide and creating opportunities for all.

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“As we focus on our long-term economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever that we look to new ways to ensure that everyone can have the skills to meet the needs of the economy. We want to rebuild a more inclusive and sustainable economy that works for everyone.”

Minister for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, said: “We are delighted to launch the seventh Local Digital Skills Partnership in West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The Partnership will bring together key regional stakeholders from across the public, private and charity sectors to work collaboratively to boost digital skills and strengthen the local economy.

"It is clear tech will play a crucial role in our economic recovery and it is vital everyone has the opportunity to develop the digital skills they need to access new opportunities."

The Local Digital Skills Partnership is part of West Yorkshire's devolution deal and provides a unique opportunity to influence the digital skills landscape across the region.

The partnership has been created to inspire change and tackle local digital skills challenges, with the following priorities:

• To inspire the growth of digital skills across West Yorkshire by reducing the digital divide with opportunities for all

• To transform digital skills through adoption across SMEs of West Yorkshire to grow the local economy and boost productivity

• To inspire and influence the workforce of the future by collaborating with education providers and employers to ensure the future generation have the skills to meet the needs of the economy

Prior to the pandemic, Leeds City Region had the fastest growing digital sector in the country, with employment growth of 48 per cent between 2015 and 2018.