Businesses in the Isles of Scilly could benefit from a new £800,000 project being launched in Penzance this summer.
'Digitising the Economy through Skills Development', or DESD, will collaborate with up to 400 businesses and sole traders in Scilly and West Cornwall to understand what digital skills their businesses need.
The project is led by Digital Peninsula Network (DPN), the largest network of ICT and Digital businesses in Cornwall. Funded training will be available to firms to upskill their staff, as well as the opportunity to take on an apprentice being trained in the skills they require. The feedback of local businesses will influence the design of new digital apprenticeships "intended to ensure the apprentice and their employer is equipped for the online marketplace and the future of businesses in the digital age".
A team from DPN will visit the islands to deliver some training and talk to local firms in the near future.
The ESF (European Social Fund) has contributed £641,185 to the project, with the rest of the £800,000 contributed by DPN and partners.
DPN's delivery partners are the Council of the Isles of Scilly, Truro and Penwith College, Penzance Business Improvement District, and Maybe*, with Penzance Regeneration Partnership contributing to funding.
Janus Howard, Managing Director of the lead partner Digital Peninsula Network, said: “We are extremely excited to see the impact of this project on local businesses and apprentices. It is proven that digital skills can boost profits and reduce costs. Nationally, small businesses with a strong web presence grow more than twice as quickly, export twice as much and create twice as many jobs as those without.”
Martin Tucker, Director of Penwith College and Chairman of Penzance Regeneration Partnership, said: “Truro and Penwith College is delighted that the Digitising the Economy Project bid has been successful and we look forward to supporting the development of new training opportunities and their subsequent delivery.
"The College has a proven record in delivering outstanding training and education and supporting the business community of Cornwall. The opportunities are significant and we look forward to engaging with as many employers as possible to grow their opportunities with digital skills.”
The DESD project - which will soon be rebranded as Grow Digital Cornwall - will be running in West Penwith and the Isles of Scilly for the next two years.
To find out more about how to be involved, contact Digital Peninsula Network 01736 333700.