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New research says firms could be doing more to support next generation of tech talent in Leeds

Today, digital development partner xDesign has released new research which highlights the need for tech companies in Leeds to be doing more when it comes to supporting the next generation of tech talent in the city.

The research, which surveyed 250 Leeds-based 14-25 year olds, reveals that 59% of young people in Leeds are considering a career in tech. However, two-fifths (40%) of local young people believe that tech companies could be doing more to provide support for schools, colleges and universities when it comes to providing a pathway into the sector. 

In addition, over a third (35%) said that they would like firms to give them more opportunities to experience tech first-hand, while a further 32% said they’d like companies to provide more graduate and work experience opportunities. 

Matt Ward, Head of xDesign’s Leeds office and prominent figure in the local tech community, said:

“Our research shows that although there is some information out there for young people in Leeds interested in pursuing a tech career; more needs to be done to encourage them into the sector. We found that as many as 46% of young people are considering leaving Leeds after they complete their education - that’s potentially a massive brain drain for all businesses in the city, but particularly for local tech companies. It’s only by boosting their support that companies can retain this valuable tech talent for the city. What’s more, they will be central in cultivating the next generation of tech talent in Leeds - future proofing their own base of digital skills as a result.”

This latest research comes off the back of xDesign’s commitment to fostering digital talent in Leeds. As a headline sponsor of this year’s Leeds Digital Careers Festival, the company supported Leeds City Council in highlighting digital career opportunities to local young people. As well as having experts on hand to talk to young people at the festival itself, it also visited local schools to give pupils further insight into the sector.

Commenting on xDesign’s Leeds ambitions Matt, added:

“The Leeds Digital Careers Festival gave xDesign the opportunity to connect directly with local young people, who we hope will one day work in the local tech sector. Working alongside Leeds City Council at the festival gave us the first hand insight we needed to really test the results of our research findings and plot an actionable programme of activity to engage young people with tech careers post-festival.

“As a private sector company ourselves, we believe that we should be active, present and investing in the technology industry that we play such a huge part in. We’re looking to extend our collaboration with Leeds City Council and other local organisations, as this is absolutely vital in supporting our mission to narrow the city’s digital skills gap, and firmly put it on the map as a thriving tech destination. 

“We already offer a number of educational opportunities for young people, including a bespoke graduate programme - giving our in-house experts the chance to inspire and support a future cohort of technologists. If we can further extend this support to Leeds in its battle to attract and retain digital talent now, then it will pay dividends long term for local businesses and those seeking high-skilled employment in the sector.”