I was recently invited to sit in on a workshop hosted by the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) aiming to develop a vision for a digital strategy for the region.
The meeting was designed to bring businesses up to speed on TVCA’s on-going development of the digital sector and its digital action plan for the Tees Valley.
The workshop offered an opportunity to discuss a shared vision for digital in the Tees Valley, review how the TVCA is going to achieve its vision and identify how the organisation is going to sync it all up.
There were representatives from a range of different sectors. This allowed us all to bring our expertise to the discussions and discuss what we all believe will benefit the region.
Highlighted at the meeting were the findings from previous sessions including the benefits the Tees Valley has over other regions.
These include the cost of living, a digital sector that supports the growth of other sectors and the opportunities for collaboration of businesses in the region. However, previous findings also included potential drawbacks such as fragmented businesses and boroughs.
Key ideas for the region included the need to digitise existing businesses, the importance of understanding what skills we have already in the region and upskilling the existing workforce by digital means.
It was also discussed that Teesside University, colleges and schools must work with businesses to identify needs and provide this upskilling of current staff and deliver a stream of fresh, highly skilled workers.
It was suggested that the Tees Valley should be pushing digital as the region’s unique selling point as well as maintaining a stable environment for businesses to grow.
The digital sector in the Tees Valley has grown by an impressive 22% since 2010 – it has experienced more growth than any other sector in the region.
This emphasises the importance of digital for the area and points toward how much more important the sector will become by 2026.
The attitudes of workers in the Tees Valley was also touched upon – the passion and expertise that is built into the DNA of our workers – especially in areas such engineering.
By demonstrating this work ethic in the digital sector, we can ensure that our region can establish itself as a digital services powerhouse and attract more investment and businesses to see the region as their home.