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A Derby entrepreneur has laid down the gauntlet to his peers in the city to help launch a new generation of talented digital professionals - and is urging others to join the campaign to make Derby Digital.
Sean Price, managing director of iBox-Security, based in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, says that whilst the city is rightly known for its excellence in the fields of aerospace and manufacturing, it now has the critical mass in place to stake a claim as the capital of digital expertise in the Midlands.
Sean said: "Ask any business in just about any industry, and most of them will say that their main challenge as they try and grow their company is access to skilled people.
"Our Derby Digital campaign aims to tackle some of the key issues that Derby - and the rest of the UK - suffers from, such as a severe lack of talented digital designers, marketers and developers in the marketplace and business growth through online channels."
Sean has joined forces with Derby College under the Employer Academy programme to launch the iBox Web and Software Development Academy.
This will provide IT students with work experience, special projects, specialist lectures and the chance of an apprenticeship with the company at the end of their course. IBox-Security is also working with Derby City Council to support IT and coding teaching through schools and libraries.
He said: "Derby Digital not only allows us as a Derby digital agency to ensure that with our academy we are training the next generation of digital experts, but also have a hand in shaping the younger generation's outlook on education. In our academy, students will work towards their BTEC qualifications but also receive hands on work placements with iBox.
"They will receive regular master classes taught by our expert team and also receive more in-depth, up to date and knowledgeable views on how a real web design agency operates, developing software, apps and ecommerce platforms for SMEs across the country."
Sean added: "We'd now urge others in the digital and related industries to come forward and help with the Derby Digital campaign.
"We've proved that by going to young people before they enter the workplace we can plug the brain drain away from Derby and make sure the best talent stays in the city.
"However, we can't do that alone. We want everyone in the sector to do their bit to make sure that Derby is synonymous with digital talent."
Derby College Business Development Director April Hayhurst added: “Derby is the UK’s number one high tech city which includes thriving IT and creative industries sectors.
“We fully support this campaign and are delighted that iBox Security has come on board to ensure students are kept up to date in the skills required for the fast moving web and software development industry."