Lucy Rimmer has been appointed Vice Chair of the Digital Skills Cluster Group for North Wales. The Learning and Development Manager at Qioptiq Ltd will step into the role this month and, along with colleagues in the group, will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of the recently launched North Wales Skills and Employment Plan.
As Vice Chair, Lucy looks forward to engaging with partners to develop future skills and working with local businesses and education providers to bring about positive change.
Excited as she takes up her role, Lucy said: “The Digital Skills Cluster Group has a platform to bridge skills gaps and shine a light on new opportunities to benefit the diverse employment options here in North Wales. I am keen to work with employers to encourage more people into the sector and to support activities where groups can be influenced on career options, such as Careers Wales events which target and inform young people about their future choices.
“I hope we encourage more to attend the group and to engage with us and participate in existing schemes and ultimately benefit with tangible results. By bringing together employers, we can start promoting and celebrating the wide range of careers and skill development opportunities available here in North Wales.”
As Lucy steps into her role, a recent North Wales Skills Partnership report highlights the scale of digital skills shortages in the region. Of those employed in North Wales, only 1.5% are currently in what is traditionally considered digital roles. With an increased demand for digital skills, compounded by the Covid pandemic, 70% of local employers report experiencing skills challenges, and 48% say they are struggling to recruit the right skills.
Lucy is under no illusion as to the size of the task ahead. She added: “Diversity is a key focus for the Digital Skills Cluster Group. We need to understand the cultural and accessibility barriers people face as they look to gain digital skills and how employers can help. I am convinced that providing more education about digital skills and career options is part of the building blocks needed. Upskilling the current workforce is important too, and I look forward to working with colleagues on the group to ensure we make this happen.”
Pryderi Ap Rhisiart is Chair of the Digital Skills Cluster Group; he welcomed the new Vice Chair: “Lucy brings with her a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience of the digital sector as well as a real understanding of the challenges. The opportunities within this sector in North Wales are extensive and varied – with a new Vice Chair on board, we’re looking forward to ensuring we can make the most of those opportunities now and in the future.”
The Digital Skills Cluster Group is a North Wales Regional Skills Partnership subgroup. By bringing employers, skills providers and local stakeholders together, the aim is to identify current and future skills needs and develop a coordinated approach to ensuring that those skills are set for the region’s benefit.
Since April 2023, the group has evolved into two parts; the ‘Digital Dozen’, a group of 12 employers who will be the driving force behind delivering the group’s action plan, and the ‘The Digital Skills Network’, a wider group of employers and regional training providers who will support the delivery of the action plan.