Digital Gum doubles up in two national tech shortlists

Reading initiative joins UK digital movers and shakers once more

Digital Gum, the Reading-based programme created to give returners, apprentices and small businesses the in-demand digital skills needed for the tech economy, has been recognised in two national shortlists. Last week, the course was announced as a finialist in the Digital Leaders 100 list, the nationwide initiative for promoting effective, long-term digital transformation across government, industry and charities. Digital Gum, and ConnectTVT founder, Louize Clarke, has also been selected in the Talent Champion category of the BIMA 100, the industry programme that recognises the individuals who are shaping the British digital industry. This is ConnectTVT’s second BIMA shortlisting.

A place for digital explorers

Launched in September 2017, Digital Gum’s students are immersed in bi-weekly sessions, from social media marketing, app design and coding through to video content, VR and SEO. Louize – and her team of local digital businesses – coach the groups of 6-8 through topics including how to write great CVs, grow social media accounts and produce social marketing content. Demand among small businesses has been exceptionally high.

A total of 80 students are set to complete the current programme which runs till May and will launch nationally later this year. Digital Gum is backed by the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP.

Reading as a tech leader

At the end of 2017, Reading was recognised as one of Tech City UK’s 11 digital hubs, escalating digital skills and talent even further up the agenda. The recent Tech Nation Talent report revealed that, London and the North West were the only regions to see a net gain of people with tech skills in 2016 – all other regions experienced a net loss.

“We’re thrilled that Digital Gum has been recognised at this national level by both Digital Leaders 100 and BIMA. But now we need to change the conversation around digital skills, nationally and here in the Thames Valley, especially if Reading is to live up to its Tech City Status. Our aim is to foster a genuinely more flexible, diverse and inclusive talent pool. Our next phase is about bringing this to regional employers and my hope is that this national recognition, by programmes of BIMA and Digital Leaders 100’s calibre, supports that goal.”

Support Digital Gum

The Digital Leaders 100 finalists will now compete for the public vote in one of 10 categories. This year’s list is made up of individuals and organisations with 44 private sector, 32 from the public sector and 24 from the non-profit sector. Alongside Digital Gum, tech entrepreneur Ben Towers, is one of the South East’s nine representatives, featuring in new category “Young Digital Leader of the Year”.

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Chair of Digital Leaders said: “The Digital Leaders 100 list 2018 once again highlights the progress in digitally transforming the UK. Our community of Digital Leaders have shone a light on the many hidden heroes, quietly getting on with the nation’s digital transformation. It is fabulous to see such a strong list from outside London this year reflecting our own inclusive national programme and the growing importance of digital transformation on companies irrespective of size or sector.”

You can support Digital Gum by voting at 


Louize Clarke