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Digital Skills Partnership

“We are at a pivotal point. Technological developments are transforming the way we live and work. Our ability to continue on a path of innovation will be determined by our commitment as a nation to ensuring that everyone has the skills they need to support, and benefit from, a thriving digital economy.”
Phil Smith, co-chair of the National Digital Skills Board, former CEO and Chair of Cisco UK and Ireland, and the Chair of the Tech Partnership.

The Heart of the South West Digital Skills Partnership, launched in June 2018, brings together the public, private and third sector to tackle the digital skills divide in Somerset, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. It is one of seven Local Digital Skills Partnerships (LDSP) delivered in conjunction with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Our Local Digital Skills Partnership is responsible for coordinating and delivering a digital strategy that raises digital skills for our community. Working to eradicate social and geographical imbalances to ensure everyone has access to digital services. The partnership also focuses on workplace mobility; ensuring the right digital training is available for young people, those outside of the workforce, work returners and individuals looking to retrain. We champion an ethos that every workplace should be one where employees can continue to learn.

We also work closely with the regions education providers, to ensure young people are aware of the diverse range of digital careers available and that teaching staff are supported to keep pace with new technologies.

Debra Steele, Digital Skills Partnership coordinator, is responsible for facilitating digital skills activity and coordination across the region alongside secretariat Simone Marillier-Roberts. Liaising with DCMS and representatives from the National Digital Skills Partnership Board to deliver a regional response to the UK Digital Strategy, and partnering with national and regional training providers to facilitate activity that raises the level of digital skills across the region.

The Heart of the South West LEP Digital Skills Partnership meet every other month, chaired by Ash Roots, Chief Digital Officer at Exeter University and the full Heart of the Southwest Digital Skills Partnership membership can be viewed here:

Here’s what current members of the DSP had to say about working in the partnership:


Testimonial From BIT Group:

Three reasons we joined:

  • We feel it’s important to support regional training initiatives that aim to better our economy locally
  • Meet up with the regional training community alongside key employers provides valuable insight into creating effective training that grows the region.
  • Be an active voice for the regional IT and Cyber training community.


  • We were one of the original members of the DSP and still is a key member today.
  • We successfully delivered IT and Cyber training to hard to reach groups under the Digital Momentum project.
  • We are a key service delivery partner of Wave 1, 2 and 3 skills bootcamps in the region.

Perceived Benefits

  • Meet the training community across the region.
  • Represent your own sector in training!
  • Insight into what training is being delivered in the region and nationally.

Find out about our mission statement and the way we work in our charter.

Digital Skills Partnership Meetups 2023

The Partnership will be meeting more regularly in 2023 and we welcome both regular and new attendees. The meetups will include an update on Digital Skills in the region, key speakers and regional opportunities, updates from the Digital Skills Partnership working groups and a chance to network. If you would like to get involved, please register your interest and a member of the team will be in contact. The meetings will begin at 10am and will run for maximum 2 hours. Unless otherwise stated all meetings will be held remotely on the following dates:-

  • Friday 24th March 2023
  • Friday 12th May 2023
  • Friday 7th July 2023
  • Friday 22nd September 2023
  • Friday 1st December 2023


Digital Skills Projects

Digital Skills Resources

Webinars worth a watch

Digileader’s week 16-20th of October 2020 featured over 300 speakers from across the UK. With talks covering Digital Health, AI, Data, Digital Inclusion and Digital Transformation choose your topic and watch the replay’s


Find free local digital training courses through the Heart of the South West LEP Growth Hub and local events on the South West Communities Calendar.

Specific Digital Skills Modules

Everyday Digital Skills

Coding Skills

Cyber Security Skills

For Business

For Schools

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