At the start of 2019, we surveyed our membership; all of our activity is driven by the needs of our members so we are always keen to gain more insight into where members want the Manchester Digital team to focus its efforts.
This survey combined with intelligence gathered from discussions with members has led to a refresh of our offering as well as the launch of several new services.
If you would like to gain a better idea of our plans, not just for the remainder of the year but for the coming years, please read this article by our Managing Director, Katie Gallagher.
More platforms for networking and collaboration
After a few false starts, we have finally launched our new website. As well as making it easier to take advantage of member benefits, we have created a new style of directory that we hope will help members to collaborate as well as promote their businesses to the wider community and potential clients. As well as sharing news, jobs and events they will be able to promote projects, call for collaborations and showcase their work.
If you haven’t already, please invite your colleagues to register on the site to start receiving our newsletter and access the products on our site.
As well as supplying a new and improved Member Directory, Manchester Digital continues to provide opportunities to connect with the sector through our events and networking evenings. We’ve also launched the #MDTechCommunity Slack Workspace that offers another way of connecting members to each other and we have seen some success from companies using it to collaborate and build partnerships. Join here to connect and converse with the rest of the sector in real-time.
Access to talent remains the number one concern of our members and it will be a priority for Manchester Digital for years to come. 2019 has, with some support from partners, really seen us scale up the range and reach of our talent pipeline programmes.
Our annual Digital Skills Festival increases in size every year and February 2020 will see some new additions to the week including GM Digital Day and professional development opportunities. The festival is the largest of its kind in the UK.
We have had wonderful support from the community to launch and deliver out Digital Her initiative – which saw us, our sponsors and a host of real-life role models embark on a journey that will result in us visiting each of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs, impacting the lives of 1200 young women along the way by inspiring them to consider a career in tech.
Meanwhile, 125 businesses have signed up to our GMCA-backed Digital Futures programme which is upskilling students, teachers and helping to deliver an industry-standard curriculum to schools across Greater Manchester.
We have worked hard to ensure that we draw candidates for our fourth Digital Future Stars Software Development Apprenticeship cohort from as many different backgrounds as possible, promoting it in community centres, libraries and places of worship as well as schools and colleges, trying to bring some much-needed diversity into the industry.
Events and Professional Development Opportunities
Our inaugural Member Conference drew an audience of 200 members and the talks showcased how broad and diverse the interests of our community are.
The introduction of new professional development programmes such as the Digital Leadership Training and Google Dev Workshop have complemented long-standing offerings such as Startup Stories, Demo Nights We continue to work hand in hand with the community delivery large scale specialist conferences such as NUX, Deliver Conference and Upfront.
Research and Insights
Our annual Skills Audit remains a key document, the findings of which inform our activity, contribute to regional policy and support members when reviewing their recruitment strategies. That is now supplemented by our Salary Benchmark and Benefits Report which details average salaries from across the sector.
Our Agency Insights report examined the challenges being faced by the region’s wide variety of agencies. As a direct result of this report, Manchester Digital has designed a programme which will support members to collaborate, understand procurement and meet some specially selected potential new clients at a showcase event in 2020.
Members told us they were keen to have their news and views amplified by us. They also want us to promote the cutting edge work being done by our members to the rest of the UK and beyond.
As such, we have developed a new content plan that incorporates podcasts, new and original long-form articles, thought leadership pieces as well as interviews and features from the companies and individuals who make up our membership.
If you would like to feature in the big plans we have for content for the rest of the year and 2020, please do get in touch as all ideas are welcome.
If you’re a member of Manchester Digital, please make sure that you are taking full advantage of your membership, log into the new website and start taking advantage of the collaboration, promotion and talent building opportunities it has to offer.
If you’re not yet a member but would like a free Membership Benefits brochure, you can request one via this page.