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Greater Manchester to hold a month of digital to help close the digital divide

Greater Manchester to hold a month of digital to help close the digital divide

This month, organisations are being invited to take part in Digitober, a month focused on bringing together businesses from across Greater Manchester to combat digital exclusion and close the digital divide.

Launched today and delivered by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, this first of its kind campaign month comes in response to the widened levels of digital exclusion the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted.

Greater Manchester has seen rapid digital transformation across all business sectors, as organisations have been forced to innovate and adapt their businesses to switch to online. This digital transformation has left some residents and businesses at a disadvantage, such as older people, people living with a disability and people from low-income households[1]. It is this inequity that Digitober will focus on, reaffirming GMCA’s commitment to a digital city region where no one is left behind.

GMCA Lead for Employment, Skills and Digital, Cllr Sean Fielding said: “In Greater Manchester we want to make sure that all our residents and businesses can benefit from the opportunities that digital can bring.

“It is estimated that around 200,000 people are ‘digitally excluded’ across Greater Manchester. This pandemic has demonstrated the importance of tackling digital exclusion to ensure that no one is left behind, it is integral that everyone should have fair and equal opportunity to digital technology.

“However this pandemic has also acted as a catalyst which is accelerating digital inclusion efforts. Digitober is a great opportunity for our businesses to showcase the work they are doing to combat digital exclusion, to all come together and pledge to do more to tackle this issue in Greater Manchester. I am looking forward to being involved in events throughout the month.”

The campaign month will act as an opportunity for organisations across Greater Manchester to prioritise their work on digital inclusion and to showcase their commitment in this area.

As part of Digital Leaders Week (12-16th October), the GMCA are set to host an event on how Greater Manchester is doing digital differently, with a specific focus on Greater Manchester’s commitment to empowering people through digital and addressing digital exclusion as well as inequalities across the region – a focus well aligned with the authorities recently published living with COVID resilience plan.

The event will feature speeches and announcements from Cllr Sean Fielding and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. The Digital Leaders Week event will also include a panel discussion with speakers from Barclays Digital Eagles, Diverse and Equal and The Stockport DigiKnow Alliance.

Digitober will also include; Switch to Digital Week (5th- 9th October), a week of informative webinars and panel discussions for people exploring a career change to find out more about working in the sector, delivered by Manchester Digital and the GMCA. The month also features Get Online Week (19th- 25th October), organised by the Good Things Foundation, which is dedicated to helping people gain and improve their digital skills.

CEO of IN4.0 Group and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership Co-Chair, Mo Isap, who is due to speak at the Digital Leaders Week event said: “I continue to be incredibly proud of how the Greater Manchester business community has come together to support our residents throughout this pandemic. There is a lot of work being done by our organisations to help close the digital divide in our city-region.

“Digitober is an excellent opportunity for organisations to showcase the work they are doing in this space and to celebrate the vibrant, innovative and world leading digital sector we have in Greater Manchester. I am looking forward to being part of the GMCA Digital Leaders Week event to talk about the IN4.0 talent academy, which has been designed to act as a bridge: connecting talent from diverse backgrounds with businesses in the North West who need to drive digital transformation.”

At the beginning of the year, GMCA launched the Greater Manchester Digital Blueprint, which sets out a three-year approach to meeting digital ambitions across the city-region. The blueprint demonstrates how Greater Manchester is clearly focused on delivering benefits that help all city-region people lead healthier and happier lives.

The events and activities making up the month include:

Switch to Digital Week will bring together individuals and businesses from across the sector to share information and actionable advice about the industry for those considering switching careers. The week is being delivered by GMCA and Manchester Digital

Digital Leaders Week is the biggest gathering of people focused on three key questions our organisations face during this accelerated period of digital transformation: What works? How to? And where can we get advice?

Each year in the Digital Leaders 100 list 10 talented members of the digital community aged between 16 and 30 are unearthed. This exceptional alumni from across the UK will be taking to the stage at the first ever Young Digital Leaders Conference. GMCA Lead for Employment, Skills and Digital Cllr Sean Fielding will be speaking at this event.

o   Digital Blueprint 2.0 Event- 15th October

This event will take a look at what has been achieved across the sector during COVID-19, with specific focus on our commitment to addressing digital inclusion. We’ll look at how our Digital Blueprint is being delivered across Greater Manchester and look towards the future and what’s next for the sector. This is a GMCA event being delivered as part of Digital Leaders Week

Get Online Week is about giving everyone the chance to find the help they need to improve their digital skills. This is a national campaign led by Good Things Foundation that GMCA are promoting.

To find out more about Digitober and how to get involved please visit our Digitober page


[1] First Monday: Who are the limited users of digital systems and media? An examination of U.K. evidence


Article Published: 01/10/2020 13:39 PM