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City’s new digital strategy aims to connect residents to growing success

A new strategy setting out how Manchester can grow its thriving digital sector while ensuring residents are equipped with the skills and infrastructure to benefit will be unveiled at a tech conference in the city.

Manchester City Council leader Cllr Bev Craig will introduce the strategy on Wednesday 9 March to delegates at the Digital City Festival in Manchester Central Convention Complex.
Manchester Digital Strategy is a vision for the whole city – the public, private, voluntary and community sectors, and not least Manchester residents – covering the period up to 2026. The Council has led on its development but with the input of 63 partners and networks.
Manchester is Europe’s fastest-growing ‘tech city’ with an economy worth an estimated £5bn, employing 58,000 people in more than 10,000 businesses.
The strategy aims to help Manchester become a world-leading digital city – mirroring and contributing to the goals of the wider Our Manchester Strategy for the city.
This means tackling digital exclusion, which often goes hand in hand with social exclusion, and helping ensure that the workforce in the digital sector reflects the diversity of the city.
Technology can also be harnessed to support other ambitions – such as the target of Manchester becoming zero carbon by 2038 or earlier.
The strategy has four key themes:
Smart People 

Ensuring Manchester people have the skills and opportunities to access jobs in the growing digital sector – and to access services digitally. This includes working with industry and training providers to ensure that people are equipped with the skills which will be in demand, including in more specialist sectors. Investments in facilities such as Manchester College’s new city centre campus and Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Digital Arts (SODA) are already beginning to bolster training and skills provision. Encouraging entrepreneurship and providing new routes into the sector – for example skills bootcamps – will also help break down barriers and promote diversity.
Digital Places 

Creating the right network access and digital infrastructure to support growth and innovation in connected ‘digital neighbourhoods’ – and making use of data to support service delivery.
Future Prosperity  

Enabling the digital economy and ecosystem to grow while improving the connections between businesses and Manchester people. This includes strengthening existing networks, identifying new potential areas for growth and working with organisations such as Greater Manchester Combined Authority and MIDAS on targeted digital investment.
Sustainable Resilience  

Using digital innovations to help meet zero carbon and climate resilience goals. This includes looking at how collecting and sharing data around carbon emissions could help reduce them and how technology can help manage demands on energy, for example through the increasing use of electric vehicles.
Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig said: “Manchester is the UK’s leading digital city outside London with a fast-growing concentration of innovation, expertise and talent. But we can’t and won’t settle for that. We must build on these strengths to create a digitally inclusive economy where everyone is equipped with the skills and infrastructure needed to share in – and contribute to – success. We must also seize on the potential of technology to help us meet the collective target of Manchester becoming zero carbon by 2038 and to manage the impacts of climate change.
“Our digital aspirations aren’t separate to the wider strategy for a thriving and sustainable city – they are fundamental to it. This new strategy will help power us along that path.”

The Council will move to establish a small digital team to help work with key stakeholders to help deliver the strategy.
To read the full strategy visit www.manchester.gov.uk/digitalstrategy.

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