Tech City UK has launched the world’s first government-funded digital skills course, the Digital Business Academy.

Released in partnership with UCL, the programme has been developed help fix the UK’s digital skills gap. Reports suggest that an additional 745,000 digitally skilled workers will be needed in the UK between 2013 and 2017.

The massive open online course (MOOC) brings together resources from industry experts and educational institutions and will be offered free to anyone in the UK. The partners include the BBC, Twitter, O2, Unruly, and Microsoft Ventures.

A catalyst for tech

Tech City UK CEO Gerard Grech told Tech City News he believes the courses can “act as a catalyst” to further develop the UK’s tech sector.

Eight courses will be available through the programme and range from ‘Size up your idea’ to ‘Master finance for your business’. Three of the courses are offered by the Cambridge Judge Business School, three by Founder Centric, and two by UCL.

None of the courses teach coding but instead focus on the business development, marketing and finance aspects of working in a tech business.

Grech believes that the Digital Business Academy is a “complement to the coding initiatives” that already exist. He added that the two sides of businesses, coding and business development, are intertwined and equally needed by the UK’s tech community.

Digital Business Academy to ‘open up careers’

Prime Minister David Cameron has praised the scheme and insisted that it will help “reinforce the UK’s position as a leading digital economy”.

Baroness Joanna Shields, chair of Tech City UK, added:

Whether you are a mother returning to the workplace or a new graduate full of ideas, securing top-notch digital and technical skills is essential.

The Digital Business Academy will open up digital careers to people irrespective of age, background or pre-qualifications.

People who take the courses will also get access to a number of other rewards. These include access to desk space, fast tracked internship applications, and further training.

You can sign up for the Digital Business Academy here.

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