500 Digital Apprenticeships and Canary Wharf Tech Hub Unveiled at Future London

Rohan Silva, senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister and founder of London’s Tech City, has revealed that 500 digital apprenticeships will be created for unemployed 16-24 year-olds in the capital.

He said Google, Facebook, Tech Hub and Moo.com have already signed up to deliver them in East London over the next couple of years.

Silva added at the inaugural Future London conference, being delivered by Wired magazine and the business group London First, that: “The success of Tech City brings with it a sense of responsibility to also think too about what our obligations are to those who are left behind.”

London First sector research

Despite this positive news for the industry, Baroness Jo Valentine, chief exec of London First, highlighted the Skills London event for 16-24-year-olds taking place at the Excel Centre next week, where she said that no tech companies will be present.

She also outlined research being undertaken by London First into the economic impact that the technology, media and telecoms sectors have on London, being done in conjunction with Deloitte, Intel and the BBC, which will report early in the New Year.

Level 39 financial innovation and 20-acre Wharf hub

Sir George Iacobescu, chairman and CEO of Canary Wharf Group, sponsors of the event, spoke of the launch of Level39 – the space on the 39th floor of One Canada Square where technology firms will be able to create, test and market world-class products that bring technological innovation together with investors to give solutions to the financial market. This is due to open in early 2013.

He said: “Fusing the growing digital sector with our world leading financial services can have a benefit for the whole of London and help financial services move forward after several challenging years.”

He also cautioned: “Tech companies are scrambling for talent, investment and access to global customers, with competition coming from emerging cities around the world.”

Wood Wharf,  a 20-acre site on Canary Wharf, is also being touted  by Iacobescu as a new living and working location for high-tech companies, the central point of London’s ‘Silicon Triangle’, which he said would ‘cement London’s position as the digital capital of Europe’.

Passport to London for entrepreneurs
Rohan Silva went on to say that the UK is now the only country in the world to have an entrepreneurs’ visa, which allows non-EU nationals who want to set-up companies in London access straight into the country.

He said that over the next few months a global business plan competition will be launched to the best business schools graduates in the world, who, if they do very well, will get a ‘free pass to London’.

He also said that London is ‘on the verge of becoming a future city’ and we need to make use of the millions and billions of sensors from mobile phone signals and GPS in cars to create apps and services that can make our cities more efficient and more sustainable.

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