Tech City launches Digital Business Academy web learning platform

Free online service will teach vital skills to aspiring digital entrepreneurs

Tech City UK this week announced the launch of its ‘Digital Business Academy’, a government-supported online learning platform intended to provide vital business skills to aspiring digital entrepreneurs.

Billed as the first in the world of its kind, the programme is being launched in conjunction with University College London and is free to join for all UK residents.

Users are able to access eight courses on topics including business finance, digital marketing and product development provided by the scheme’s partner organisations, which include the University of Cambridge and Founder Centric.

The Digital Business Academy is intended to give UK residents the skills they need to succeed if they plan to start, grow or join a digital business; a recent report suggested that Britain will need an additional 745,000 workers with digital skills to meet the rising demand from employers up to 2017.

The scheme has partnered up with around 35 industry collaborators, which include the BBC, O2 Think Big, Ogilvy Labs and Microsoft Ventures. These partners are offering “tangible opportunities” to course participants including paid internships, mentoring, and start-up space.

Tech City said more than 1,000 people had already signed up during the pre-registration phase of the programme, which is being powered by UCL’s online learning platform UCLeXtend.

Digital Business Academy’s launch marks the first time a government-supported learning course has been extended to people of all ages, backgrounds and qualifications.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Ensuring that our people and businesses have world-class digital skills so they can compete in the economy of the future is a key part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain.

“We have put coding into the school curriculum and our rollout of superfast broadband, backed by over £1bn Government investment in our digital infrastructure, has now passed more than 1.5 million homes and businesses and is reaching 40,000 more each week.

“Building on this, the Digital Business Academy will open up our great universities and provide the know-how to help hardworking people get on in life, reinforcing the UK’s position as a leading digital economy.”

Baroness Joanna Shields, chair of Tech City UK and a digital adviser to the Prime Minister, said: “Tech City UK’s Digital Business Academy represents a new revolution in education providing access to world leading universities and great digital minds for free.

“Whether you are a mother returning to the workplace or a new graduate full of ideas, securing top-notch digital and technical skills is essential.  The Digital Business Academy will open up digital opportunities to people irrespective of age, background or pre-qualifications. For anyone who wants to learn, we provide the practical skills you need to start your own digital business or to thrive in any digital company”.

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