LOTI – working together to extend digital apprenticeships across London

This week saw the launch of the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI), and at Hackney we’re really proud to be one of the founding members.

One of LOTIs first strands of work is a shared endeavour to scale digital apprenticeships across the core LOTI boroughs, with a working goal of 100 apprenticeships by 2020. We want to lay the foundations for developing digital skills across London’s diverse communities.

We’re also clear that we want to use this opportunity to improve diversity in the tech sector – challenging the status quo, and using our collective energy to make a difference.

Hackney’s ambitious apprenticeship programme is well underway so we’ve been asked to lead the work on this strand. Apprenticeships are a key part of our workforce strategy – we know that in a market where digital skills are at a premium we need to work hard to attract the right candidates, and that growing our own talent is vital. It’s also a great way of bringing new ideas, energy and diverse experiences into our team.

The day after LOTI’s launch we held a kick-off workshop with 9 other London local authorities, the GLA and Government Digital Service, and the new Director of LOTI, Eddie Copeland.

Hackney’s approach

At Hackney we’re open about what we think has helped us make a success of our apprentice programme so far and also about the challenges we’ve faced. We shared that story with the room, starting with our apprentices’ experience of joining our team and beginning their studies. We then asked people to share with each other the things they are working on, details of any barriers they’re facing, and the ambitions they have to create apprenticeship opportunities for people in their boroughs.

That’s given us a really good insight into where we should focus our efforts next. The priorities we’ll be working on include:

  • Sharing our knowledge and skills
  • Collaborating on specific issues, such as navigating the apprenticeship standards and procuring training providers
  • Building momentum by helping and supporting each other when we’re faced with a ‘you can’t’

We will also need to decide how we’ll collaborate when we’re back in our home councils. We’re a large-ish and diverse groups of people, and our various organisations almost certainly use different collaboration tools. So we’ll be giving some thought to how we can best grow this network, share our knowledge, and work with the core LOTI team as they get started and see how we can foster easy collaboration between us.