Digital academy expands training to plug skills gap

Richard Dennys

Richard Dennys - Credit: Archant

More free courses for the public in response to the demand for skills to start and run a digital business has been announced by government body Tech City UK.

With the expansion of the Digital Business Academy (DBA) and the addition of new course content from learning provider Founder Centric, nine online courses from world-class educational institutions and industry experts will now be accessible.

Newly appointed head of the programme, Richard Dennys, 47, said: “The idea behind the Digital Business Academy is to offer a democratised of way of providing high quality learning content you wouldn’t usually get outside university and allow as many people as possible to access it.

“What we are trying to do is provide London’s fastest growing businesses with a conveyor belt of talent to help them fire off into the stratosphere.”

Since launching in November last year, more than 12,000 users have signed up to the platform.

Richard said: “The fact that so many people are taking and completing courses shows that the UK is embracing a truly entrepreneurial culture.

“The course completion rates have been double the industry average and we are seeing a real appetite for access to tangible digital business skills across the UK. With the addition of extra course material from Founder Centric, I’m incredibly excited to see the next phase of DBA and the digital ventures our course participants will embark upon”.

Most Read

He added: “It really feels that we are fighting the good fight – the great thing is hearing the stories from the outcome of what we are doing. When you work in the dotcom world it’s just a transaction.

“You don’t see what happens afterwards but people are living their dreams.”

The Digital Business Academy already offers eight online business courses from UCL, Cambridge Judge Business School and Founder Centric, and more than 43 industry partners including Microsoft Ventures, Ogilvy and the BBC.

It is a direct pipeline to partners offering paid internships, mentorship, specialist content, as well as startup support such as fast tracking to loans and free co-working space.

Tech City UK is also looking for further content providers, and a range of new partners are to be announced.

Richard said that east London was ideally suited to the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of those in the tech industry.

He said: “The close proximity of everyone means you can see lots of people around. It is like the West Coast [of the USA] with more opportunity, and we are a small country so it’s easier to get things around, so we have everything on our side.

“It is also not as capitalist and sharp as the West Coast – there are a lot of social enterprises and people wanting to help others, not just be the next unicorn company.”

Courses on the Digital Businesses Academy are free to those living in the UK.

Richard said: “We just want people to know about it and as soon as they use it and the more people can use it, the better; we are helping businesses to help themselves.

“The academy is open to anyone; we have people on there from 12 years old to 80 years old.”

For more