The Digital Grid Partnership – making digital skills work for small businesses

Within 20 years, 90% of all jobs will require some element of digital skills. We want to ensure that London-based SMEs and their workforces are prepared for the technological changes to come.

The Digital Grid Partnership is a project managed by Newham College and aimed at enabling London-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to work with the creative and tech community and improve their use of technology. It aims to identify existing qualifications required for the industry, work with SMEs to re-design qualifications for the future, and help build the capacity of SMEs to host work placements that develop relevant industry experience, as well as strengthening partnerships between skills-training organisations and small businesses. Valuable input from workshops, focus groups and events with SMEs will help to inform the future direction of the project.

Supported by the Mayor of London, the Digital Grid Partnership is a programme that works in collaboration with leading skills-training organisations and start-ups, SMEs and micro-enterprises in identifying vital digital training requirements, ensuring that they stay competitive and resilient in an ever-evolving technology sector.

The Digital Grid Partnership also aims to strengthen the bond between its delivery partners (London South Bank University, Goldsmiths University of London, Loughborough University, Richmond upon Thames College, Barnet and Southgate College, and LCC University of the Arts), and small businesses within the creative and tech industry’s future workforce.

While the project is due to complete activities by December 2020, it has been seriously affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Many of the project’s outcomes were due to take place via face to face sessions, large events, and workshops. Initially, it was feared that many SMEs would struggle to keep engaged with the project, given the potential financial and practical ramifications of the outbreak. While this has been the case for a few SMEs, it is nowhere near as widespread and potentially ruinous as we anticipated, and this is testament to the hard work of our delivery partners.

Events have been continuing, with sessions being held online or via telephone calls, and we have been able to engage with over sixty SMEs so far. More than ten students have been on work placements, albeit remotely. This success and feedback from the SMEs have been incredibly positive and we hope to be able to continue to deliver until the end of the year.

If you are keen to get involved and to find out more about how we’re making digital skills work for small businesses, visit our website at

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