Government Strategy to boost digital innovation and skills

Sunderland Software City welcomes the publication today by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the UK Digital Strategy which places tech, innovation and digital skills at the heart of UK economic productivity.

The UK Digital Strategy seeks to make Britain “the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business” and acknowledges that the digital sector is central to the success of all other sectors.

The Strategy includes measures to enable the continuous growth of strong tech clusters and ecosystems and investment in infrastructure to keep the UK at the forefront of digital connectivity including 5G networks, as announced in the Autumn Statement.

Dr David Dunn, Chief Executive of Sunderland Software City said: “The acknowledgement and recognition that digital powerhouses are flourishing across the country – and not just in the South – is fantastic.

“Since 2008 Sunderland Software City has supported and enabled the growth of the tech sector in the North East of England and now more than ever we are seeing encouraging levels of confidence and ambition from digital start-ups, scale-ups and enterprises.”

“The strategy reinforces that traditionally non-digital businesses must be encouraged to understand and supported to adopt digital technology to help them be internationally competitive. The North East, through the Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley, will drive this forward with the manufacturing sector through a range of demonstrator projects.”

The Strategy also outlines plans to make the UK a world-leading data-driven economy, fuelling industry and services.

Dr Dunn said: “The focus on the use of data is welcomed, it is something that the North East has focused on since the establishment of the North East & Tees Valley Digital Catapult Centre in March 2015.

“Helping companies realise the value of their data to drive efficiency, productivity and customer engagement is paramount to ensuring the UK continues to be internationally competitive.”

The Strategy also sets-out plans to equip the UK with the skills it needs to be a world-leading digital economy, including plans to place higher emphasis on computing in the curriculum and offering digital skills training to individuals, businesses and the future workforce in order to widen digital inclusion and address the digital skills gap.

Amy Porter, Skills Manager at Sunderland Software City said: “The focus on digital skills is a welcome move towards ensuring that citizens are in a position to take advantage of the opportunities the digital world offers.

“As highlighted in the recent Industrial Strategy the lack of digital skills is a potential a barrier to economic growth.

“The UK needs an increased focus on developing digital skills for digital jobs with measures to tackle the technical skills gap in a co-ordinated and sustainable way to support the tech industry, enable cross-sector digital transformation and drive economic growth.

“In June, Sunderland will host a technical skills summit bringing together industry, Edtech providers, education and local government to outline plans for ensuring that the North East is equipped with the digital skills it needs to succeed and we will continue to work with industry and academia to lead and participate in a range of initiatives and activities addressing and providing sustainable solutions to the digital skills gap.”

The full UK Digital Strategy can be found at


About Sunderland Software City

Sunderland Software City is enabling the growth of the technology sector in the North East of England; providing support and creating opportunities for aspiring and established software businesses. We aim to strengthen the region’s economy by helping individual companies to grow, create jobs and attract investment and through collaboration with partners across the UK, we champion North East tech.

Sunderland Software City is funded from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, visit

About Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley

The Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley is a partnership between the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Tees Valley Unlimited, delivered by Sunderland Software City. Digital Catapult NETV works with organisations from all sectors to help accelerate innovation through adoption of emerging technology including AR/VR, 5G and machine learning; streamlining processes, creating new value and increasing competitiveness in corporates whilst creating new commercial market opportunities for the region’s technology SMEs. We deliver business challenges across sectors and verticals, run open innovation challenges and incubation activities designed to support the longevity and growth of the North East economy. Find out more at