TechWM and the University of Birmingham sign memorandum of understanding to advance digital skills

02 Nov 2023 | Network Updates

The University of Birmingham, through Birmingham Digital Futures (BDF), and Tech West Mids (TechWM) have signed a MOU affirming their wish to work together to address the West Midland’s prevailing digital skills gap.

The agreement, signed in the same week that the University of Birmingham hosts Birmingham Tech Week’s Digital Skills Symposium at the Exchange for the third year running, will see BDF become a founding patron of TechWM and TechWM become a strategic partner of Birmingham Digital Futures. The MoU builds on the ongoing work of BDF – an initiative that the University of Birmingham co-founded with PwC and Tech She Can in 2021.

“Formalising our partnership with TechWM is an enormously positive move that echoes the collaborative ethos at the heart of BDF. We are particularly excited about the new opportunities this alliance will offer as they are undoubtedly the driving force behind our region’s expanding tech community,” said Victoria Pargetter-Garner (Associate Director of Business Engagement & Research Impact), who leads the BDF Innovation District for the University of Birmingham.

Earlier in the week, representatives from Birmingham Digital Futures and TechWM, as well as young graduates of digital skills development programmes, participated in a ministerial roundtable with Paul Scully MP, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy. The roundtable explored the role of public-private partnership models, highlighting how BDF is catalysing collaboration between academic, industry and government to help shape digital talent and the future of work in the West Midlands.

Martin Ward, West Midlands Tech Commissioner, said: “This MoU is hugely significant for TechWM as it strives to build a world-class ecosystem that will boost our region’s digital capabilities and enable us to reap the associated economic benefits. Effective collaboration is a central tenet of this effort and I’m delighted to see TechWM partner with the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Digital Futures to unite towards the common goal of driving digital excellence across the West Midlands.”

Looking ahead, BDF will lead TechWM’s digital skills working group and TechWM will continue to play a key role in BDF’s work as a strategic partner, combining their existing credentials in developing innovative skills initiatives to amplify their shared commitment to the region.

Yiannis Maos MBE, TechWM CEO, said: “As we embrace the future, it’s imperative that we address the pressing digital skills gap in the West Midlands. This partnership with Birmingham Digital Futures represents a pivotal step towards equipping our region with the talent and expertise needed to thrive. Together, we will empower our workforce, drive innovation, and secure a prosperous future for our businesses and communities.”

As part of the MoU, the University will continue to host Birmingham Tech Week’s Digital Skills Symposium – a one-day event at the largest regional tech festival in the country – that brings together those responsible for developing, recruiting and retaining digital talent in the region together to address the digital skills gap.

On the agreement, the University of Birmingham’s Provost and Vice-Principal, Professor Stephen Jarvis said: “We are pleased to sign this MOU with TechWM, which reflects our civic commitment to the city to support education and skills for the benefit of improving the lives of people in the city and the region’s economic growth.”

This article was first published on 17 October by University of Birmingham.

Never miss an update from Science|Business:   Newsletter sign-up