Digital Cities || Edinburgh
“Scotland’s refreshed digital strategy sets out our vision for Scotland as a vibrant, inclusive, open and outward looking digital nation.” – Gov.Scot
Edinburgh, as a city, has history rooted deep in its walls, its streets and its architecture; we visit Edinburgh and see the castle, the ‘Old Town’ and the dungeons, but be careful not to categorise this city too hastily and miss the innovation which has always been and still is evolving within the Scottish capital. The first ever successful passenger steamboat was invented by Edinburgh native, Henry Bell, Thomas Edison Bell, who gave us the Telephone, originated from Edinburgh, as did James Clerk Maxwell, the inventor of colour photography; Edinburgh’s innovation and significant developments are not a new phenomenon, but they are accelerating in 2018.
The Scottish Government have their own Digital Strategy, ‘Realising Scotland’s full potential in a digital world: a digital strategy for Scotland’, ensuring continued digital growth and development in a city which is already no stranger to tech. Their objectives ensure that ‘Digital’ is at the heart of everything they do, and understand that this must stretch from changing traditional and dated practices and inviting new technology to the youth of Edinburgh coming through their education system.
“The Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy and financial investment in Scotland’s Cities is a significant commitment to making Scotland’s cities smarter, more dynamic and better placed to compete in a connected world.” FutureScotEvents
The digital skills gap is being felt nationwide with technological advancements being made faster than education and qualifications are being completed. This results in individuals placed in jobs which evolve to be beyond their skillset or applying for jobs they do not have the skills to execute well. 47% of Scottish businesses claimed that they had gaps in their digital skills. Upskilling workforces and individuals is a sure way to start closing this gap.
The Digital Boost Programme
The Digital Skills Gap has is acknowledged by the Government and the city of Edinburgh; the Digital Boost Programme looks to equip its people with the skills they need for a digital future. This Government project has planned for £36 million of loans, which are being made available for the development of businesses’ digital skills and capabilities.
The Google Digital Garage Project has returned to Scotland with a storefront in Edinburgh. It launched on Monday the 16th of July and offers training, both on a one-to-one basis with one of the coaches, and in group training sessions, on topics such as Digital Marketing, more basic computer skills (such as learning how to use email or spreadsheets), staying safe online, social media and learning to code! This is a free tool which anyone would be foolish not to take advantage of. If you’re a beginner, then the group sessions are an excellent introduction to the topics or a great refresher, or if it’s something more specific and in-depth you need help with, the one-to-one sessions will prove most helpful.
Innovation & Opportunity
Edinburgh has been named the best place for tech in the UK; the best city to find funding, grow your startup and do business, already a city which thrives as a financial hub, being awarded this title too should entice businesses across the UK to consider Edinburgh as a possible home. The city was also pegged as the best UK city for millennials, encouraging young entrepreneurs and talent to Edinburgh. It was the Tech Nation survey which declared this and the JLL’s own research showed that ‘ 87% of Edinburgh’s tech community rated the opportunities for high growth digital companies to scale up in Edinburgh as positive’, indicating that the innovation and growth are welcome and encouraged!
Also pushing the growth of their already healthy tourism industry, Youth Travel Edinburgh have joined forces with Marketing Edinburgh and Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, having received £40,000 in the form of a Visit Scotland Growth Fund. Together they are pairing their own successful influencers with influencers from other cities from around the world. Together the pair will share imagery of the Scottish city on the social media platforms like Instagram all year round encouraging further tourism to the area – #UncoverEdinburgh. Edinburgh, beaten only by London, is one of the hottest places for young visitors to the UK.