Sage’s £1.4m investment in the North East to tackle critical digital skills gap is hailed as “transformational” by HM Treasury
-Meeting with Sage on Friday 11 February, Treasury Minister, Simon Clarke MP praised the three multi-year partnerships with Newcastle United Foundation, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and National Innovation Centre for Data, which will help 90,000 young people in the North East access technology skills training and sustainable careers
-Programmes will include technology workshops around topics like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and robotic challenges, to inspire the next generation of talent and tackle the region’s digital divide
– Partnerships underscore Sage’s commitment to tackle digital inequality as part of its wider purpose to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has welcomed the landmark investment by Sage, the leader in accounting, financial, HR and payroll technology for small and mid-sized businesses, hailing the “transformational” three-year programme which will transform 90,000 young lives in the North East over the next five years.
Sage’s partnerships with Newcastle United Foundation and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) will make Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers a new reality for schoolchildren, teenagers, and young adults through inspiring learning experiences. This is critical to addressing the pressing need to upskill the next generation, providing them with life changing digital skills to properly equip them for the careers of the future.
A third partnership with the National Innovation Centre for Data based at Newcastle University will provide Computer Science students with opportunities to solve real-world problems with a focus on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. The partnership will pair undergraduate and post graduate students with Sage’s engineering and AI experts, offering them valuable career insights and learning experiences, as well as exposing them to career opportunities to retain their skills in the North East.
As of February 2021, the North East technology sector was the biggest hiring sector in the region with a healthy pipeline of start-ups and fast-growing tech businesses*. However, according to the Industrial Strategy Council, the UK’s supply of skills, particularly technology and people skills, will struggle to keep up with increased demand over the next decade **.
Digital skills also carry a large wage advantage. Gov.com*** research found roles requiring digital skills pay 29% (£8,300) over those roles that do not (£37,000 vs £28,700) with the premium increasing at higher skill levels.
Sage’s skills-based learning partnerships with the Newcastle United Foundation and the IET will address the tech skills shortage by supporting disadvantaged young people and those who are not in education employment or training (NEETs). The learning programmes will provide simulated experiences of jobs and careers, and interactive STEM learning via FIRST© LEGO© League, to train the next generation of regional workers, innovators, and business leaders.
Founded 40 years ago by graduates from Newcastle University, Sage has grown to become one of the UK’s biggest tech companies, with operations and customers around the world. With its global headquarters based in North Tyneside, Sage is committed to knocking down barriers to help build the region’s pipeline of tech talent for the jobs of the future, which is a critical part of its Sustainability & Society strategy. A key part of which includes giving everyone access to technology learning and the opportunities it creates, to build a truly diverse technology sector and support long term economic prosperity in the North East.
Simon Clarke MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury said: “This transformational investment in the North East will help 90,000 young people get the skills they need to pursue successful digital careers. We know that jobs based on digital skills boost pay by an average of £8,000 a year.
“Providing people with a better chance at getting those jobs is how we build a high skill, high productivity economy with opportunities for all.”
Sarah Medcalf, Deputy Head of Newcastle United Foundation: “We are thrilled that Sage have agreed to become our first ever ‘Technology Partner,’ helping us transform the way school children and young people transition from education to careers as part of our NUFutures programme.
“Together, we will introduce young people to career possibilities in the technology sector, through mentoring, personal development and innovative virtual reality scenarios in a growing number of STEM roles available across the region. Sage will also be our lead partner for an annual STEM event held at NUCASTLE attended by over 2000 school children.
“Supporting the next generation to explore skilled careers in a purpose-built facility on their doorstep is key and we are proud to be leading the way for scientists, engineers, mathematicians, technology and digital experts of the future.”
David Lakin, Head of Education, Safeguarding and Education Policy at the IET: “We are delighted to partner with Sage to help bring our FIRST® LEGO® League programme to more young people in the North East, providing them with the opportunity to learn and develop their STEM skills whilst having fun at the same time. Thanks to Sage’s generous support, the IET is able to inspire and inform more young people as part of our mission and raise awareness of STEM careers to help engineer a better world for us all.”
Partnership with Newcastle United Foundation
As official Technology Partners of the Newcastle United Foundation charity, Sage will provide technological support to disadvantaged and disengaged youths, boosting their ambition, confidence, and motivation to achieve.
Set to be housed in purpose-built digital suites in the Foundation’s new home – NUCASTLE, powered by Newcastle Building Society – the programme will transform young people’s perspectives on their future and help them develop valuable work skills during fun and immersive VR sessions.
The partnership will also facilitate annual opportunities for up to five young people to kickstart their careers with Sage UK via apprenticeships or full-time job roles. This is in addition to the roles offered by Sage on an annual basis as part of its Apprentice Programme and adds to the hundreds of apprentices it has employed since the start of the programme in 2015.
Partnership with IET and the FIRST® LEGO® League
Through Sage Foundation’s new partnership with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), 14,000 school children in the most deprived areas of the North East region will gain access to STEM education.
This programme, which will be delivered through FIRST® LEGO® League, will help train and inspire a future generation of scientists, technology leaders and engineers using robotics and Lego. It will be offered to all children under 16 in participating schools.
The IET inspires young people into STEM through its FIRST® LEGO® League programme by learning and exploration at an early age. From Discover, to Explore, and then to Challenge, students will understand the basics of STEM and apply their skills in an exciting competition while building habits of learning, confidence, and teamwork skills along the way. FIRST® LEGO® League is also supported by Sage volunteers who give their time to help deliver the competition.
Partnership with the National Information Centre for Data at Newcastle University
This will provide Computer Science students with opportunities to solve real-world problems with a focus on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to support small and mid-sized businesses. The partnership will pair undergraduate and post graduate students with Sage’s engineering and AI experts, offering them valuable career insights and leaning experiences, as well as exposing them to career opportunities to retain their skills in the North East.