The association for the people and businesses of Sheffield's digital industries.

talent 23, a year of talent and skills

a year of talent and skills

Our plans for the next six months

Find out about what we’ll be focusing on and how you can get involved.

Following on from my post looking at the achievements of our first year, I wanted to share our plans for the rest of 2016. These plans were discussed in detail at our June board meeting and we would welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions. There’s a lot to do, so offers of help would be welcome too!

Here’s a summary of the 5 key areas we’ll be focusing on and what we’ll be doing.

Promoting the digital businesses in Sheffield and promoting Sheffield’s digital scene to the rest of the world:

  • Creating a lot more content for the website, including featuring local companies and highlighting success stories
  • Pushing our content out to other media to gain exposure and coverage
  • Producing monthly newsletters and more in-depth quarterly updates

Taking practical steps to address the skills and talent challenge:

  • Build up the new Skills section on the website to provide useful information and inspiration, including examples of local companies’ work with education
  • Have a presence at the November careers fairs held at the UTC, the College and the Universities
  • Review the careers information that’s available and create localised resources in time for the November careers fairs
  • Work with University student clubs to link them with local meetups
  • Continue to work with education at all levels and other partners to build a strong tech talent pipeline

Continuing to support and build Sheffield’s digital community:

  • Increase the amount and variety of informative content on the website
  • Programme a “digital fringe” series of events to run alongside Design Week in October
  • Promote and support the many grass roots events in and around the city

Representing the needs and points of view of Sheffield’s digital community to local and regional policy makers, such as Sheffield City Council, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Tech UK and central government (via Tech North):

  • Continue to actively participate in high level meetings, round table discussions and lobbying, at city level and regionally, on behalf of the digital industries and our membership
  • Collaborate on relevant initiatives (eg the MakerHub)
  • Find opportunities to present information, research and thought leadership
  • Convene quarterly policy discussions for the community to shape our policy priorities

Last, but by no means least, we still need to make sure that Sheffield Digital is financially sustainable so that it can continue to function (and grow) through 2017. We’ll be doing this through:

  • Individual and company memberships
  • Sponsorships
  • Other sources of revenue, such as research projects or programme delivery. However, we’ll only take this kind of work on when it is aligned with our objectives and the needs of the Sheffield Digital community. We may also decide to charge for tickets to any new events we create (but making sure that we don’t compete with any existing community events).

What will we spend the money on?
We want to be transparent about this so that people who pay for memberships know what their money is being used for.

  • People’s time to do this work – that’s me and Chris Dymond at the moment. We are not employees and we don’t have contracts – the board reviews these payments every month and can stop them at any time. Other people are helping out on an unpaid basis.
  • Some marketing materials – the website has all been created with open source software and people donating their time and expertise. Now we need some physical stuff like pop-up stands and paper things that we can take to events.
  • A small events budget

How can you get involved?

  • Buy a membership – as well as supporting our work financially, this is a clear and visible way for you to put your weight (as an individual or a business) behind what we are doing. Having a strong membership body gives us additional credibility when we lobby policy makers and pitch stories to the media.
  • Create content for the website – send us your news, write a guest blog post, make a video. We’re up for any ideas that are of interest to the Sheffield digital community.
  • Make sure your business is on our map.
  • Tell us about your events, or ideas for events, so that we can work together to promote them and help make them happen.
  • Let us know if there’s something in particular that you’d like to help out with.
  • Join the Slack team if you haven’t already and join in the many conversations that are happening there.
  • Spread the word – make sure your colleagues, clients and contacts know about Sheffield Digital.

If you have any thoughts, comments, questions or suggestions about what we’re doing, please get in touch. You can post a comment here, or get in touch with us via Slack, Twitter or good old email. Or come and have a chat at GeekBrekky on a Friday morning.