Main Lecture room – West Downs 2
Chair: Andy Connell
Time 9.35 – 10.35

John Sibbald’s presentation and conference report

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Greater Manchester Digital Talent Pipeline Programme

The programme will build links between education, informal learning & industry delivering short, medium and long term solutions to the digital talent shortage.  The outcomes we need to see are; young people inspired to enter careers in digital/tech, teachers supported to deliver the computing curriculum in an interesting & industry relevant way and all young people building up their work readiness and the right digital, creative and broader business skills.

The programme will operate at scale across GM working with schools & colleges across GM – we want an offer that is open to all but there will need to be some targeting to ensure we deliver the maximum social and economic impact possible.  It will make it easy for industry to get involved with education in a way that is strategic and relevant to their talent pipeline.

Research – Extensive local and national research was gathered on the digital talent shortage included reports from the GM LEP, GMCA, Manchester Digital and HM Govnt Industrial Strategy.

Research included key shortages in the local, digital sector from software development, data analysis through to cyber security and testing.  Future employer demand was also identified including AI, machine learning and IOT.


  • A small group of schools in Greater Manchester were engaged to understand their drivers and challenges around the delivery of the computing curriculum, careers and work placements and the support they would like to access.
  • A small group of digital/tech employers were engaged individually and as a group to understand what expertise they can offer to education & support requirements.
  • A group of GM organisations currently involved in promoting the digital agenda were also consulted to find out what is working well and at scale. This group included Manchester Digital, HIVE Manchester, InnovateHer and Stepping into Business.



John has nearly thirty years of experience teaching and leading in North Manchester secondary schools.  Ten years were spent working at the North West Manchester City Learning Centre researching the effective use of new and emerging digital technologies and how these impact on teaching and learning.  In April 2010 he joined the team at Manchester Communication Academy in Harpurhey, leading on the development of the new Computing curriculum, 21st century digital skills, the ICT strategy and staff effectiveness and performance in the use of technology.

 Since the Spring of 2017 he has been working with the following partners:

Tute Education Ltd – creating a set of virtual teacher standards, developing lesson review protocols and improving online teacher effectiveness.

Creative Scene, North Kirklees – digital engagement strategy and the effective use of digital technologies in the artistic process.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority – working with school, colleges, industry and other partners on developing a digital talent pipeline strategy.

John is passionate about how we can harness technology to improve teacher effectiveness and student outcomes including the development of 21st century learning skills.