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Closing Brighton’s Digital Divide

An edited version of this blog was first published in the Brighton independent on July 19th

The rapid growth of Brighton’s digital and media sector is built on its ability to find and attract great talent. Talented people are everywhere, but the opportunities for them are not. That’s why Wired Sussex has an unequivocal goal of making Brighton the best place in the UK for anyone from anywhere to have a rewarding digital career.

As an organisation, we work tirelessly with digital and media businesses across the city to make our sector diverse, inclusive and open to all. Our website includes a range of tools, tips and ideas for businesses about how to make that happen for them.

But this doesn’t mean we should ignore untapped talent on our own doorstep. If many who grow up here are excluded from the opportunities that our media and tech companies provide, then that social unfairness leads to resentment. It also means our businesses are missing out on the opportunity to help nurture and benefit from undiscovered local talent. 

We need to ensure we don’t become a two-tier city.

It was with this thought in mind that I recently chatted with the former worldwide head of marketing at Brandwatch, Will McInnes. Will has become involved in a local campaign called Class Divide. He told me why:

Class Divide exists because the Council's own data showed that just 37% of young people from Whitehawk, Manor Farm and Bristol Estate were equipped with basic grades at GCSE English and Maths in 2019, leaving school at a serious disadvantage to the citywide average of 69%. We're fighting to change that, to force the Council and the city to do better, and to enable the community re-discover a voice that has been worn down, so that this next generation get the education they deserve and can be part of our changing economy. Otherwise we stay just as divided as before, except this time by a dividing line that's digital.

Important stuff. Like the technologies they build, our digital businesses deliver brilliant opportunities, but only if we maximise participation and make sure there is citywide benefit. 

Take a look at our blog post full of resources on how you can help close the digital divide.

About the author

Phil Jones

Hi, I'm the Director of Innovation and Projects at Wired Sussex, I deliver our portfolio of regional creative technology projects and support our innovation hub, the FuseBox.

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