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Early Success following the 'Recruit differently Temple Quarter' launch at Bristol Tech Fest 2022

The launch of the new ‘Recruit Differently - Temple Quarter’ project got off to a brilliant start at the Bristol Tech Fest 2022 with its first business-community link up success story.


Small tech businesses requested further support and advice to develop apprenticeships, links to the local inner-city community were established and a paid digital marketing internship was created with over 150 applicants for the placement that includes industry leading qualifications.


A great start to the beginnings of a business, community, education, and training eco system centered around one of the UK’s most ambitious regeneration projects.


So what is Temple Quarter, the ‘Recruit Differently’ project and why the Bristol Tech Fest?


Temple Quarter

Temple Quarter is one of the UK’s biggest and most ambitious regeneration projects, it will deliver up to 10,000 homes and 22,000 jobs in a series of new sustainable and inclusive communities at the heart of one of the UK’s most productive and fast-growing city regions.


£95m of investment has been secured through local and National Govt investment, 130 acres of Brownfield site are set to be re-developed, the funding secured will enable the transformation of the area into a gateway for Bristol and the West of England and includes a new University campus.


The University of Bristol investment in a new campus alone will create:

· Teaching, research, and innovation spaces for 3,000 students, 800 university staff, business, and community partners.

· High quality student accommodation

· Sustainability: eco-friendly design and car-free


It a landmark for the city and for the future of the University, helping to join the city centre to the east of Bristol, contributing to economic growth and job creation.


And the ‘Recruit Differently’ project?

Initially convened by Prof. Phil Taylor (Pro Vice-Chancellor Research & Enterprise, University of Bristol), organisations interested in supporting Temple Quarter regeneration and the University’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, have been preparing to explore how they could best work together, each bringing their own strengths to this place-based regeneration project.


Recognising the persistent challenges in the jobs market and growing cost-of-living crisis, the programme aims to create new local apprenticeship opportunities – jobs with training – designed to support local business whilst providing excellent, career routes and progression for Bristol residents.


To kick-start this call to action, the emerging network has proposed a variation on the region’s Share to Support scheme (funded by the West of England Combined Authority; and managed by Western Training Provider Network) to enable apprenticeship levy sharing within Temple Quarter and neighbouring areas. This Share to Support: TQ scheme will enable SME organisations to secure free training (pledged by large organisations) for upskilling their employees and supporting new apprenticeships.


The project hopes to incentivise employers to offer high-quality, well-paid apprenticeships whilst helping local residents access and secure these exciting new opportunities.


The WTPN

The Western Training Provider Network (WTPN) is a highly regarded collaborative network of training and education providers based in the West of England and runs a regional Apprenticeship hub with 3 fully funded regional apprenticeships services for local and National Govt. These include impartial apprenticeship support services for SME’s, awareness sessions for schools and a gift matching service for apprenticeship levy paying employers:


The Eco system beginnings: Engine Shed, Tech Spark and the Bristol Tech Fest 2022

With funded services in place, partnerships forming between the University of Bristol, local employers engaged in Temple Quarter, Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority, what best place to kick off the new initiative than at the home of one of the world’s foremost University-Business Incubators and a successful existing eco-system, already based in Temple Quarter – Engine Shed.


The TQ project aims to partner up with existing networks, and based at the Engine Shed are techSPARK, the largest and best-connected tech network in the Southwest. They kindly allowed us to launch with a session at their Bristol Tech Fest 2022, a celebration of their industry.


A panel was designed to inform the audience about the power of apprenticeships, the ‘recruit differently’ TQ project and how employers could start to think about how they recruit, in the first instance with marketing that would draw in a more diverse candidate base. The panel included:


· An award-winning apprenticeship employer - Emma Cox from Thatcher’s Cider, describing how they created a local apprenticeship talent supply chain from scratch and all the benefits they have been rewarded with.

· A digital marketing apprenticeship training provider – James Lott from Working Knowledge describing how they support employers to hire amazing talent and create a structure for them to flourish, even in micro businesses where time is deemed the biggest barrier to developing new staff.

· Shona Wright, who has risen to Head of Content at techSPARK, originally their very first apprentice, to describe how apprenticeships can work in the tech sector

· And Joyann Boyce, describing how she supports employers to ‘recruit differently’ by creating marketing for job roles that encourages a more diverse candidate base to apply.


Following the event, the WTPN’s West of England Apprenticeship service have already received two enquiries about apprenticeships from two tech small businesses to follow up and Lloyds Bank linked up with Rebecca Scott MBE from the University of Bristol (our local community champion) to ensure a fantastic digital marketing internship opportunity was circulated to the local inner-city community, 150 applicants! Immediate success.


The place based employer/education eco system with links to the community has begun, great to see the initiative taking shape and opportunities being created already, here’s to much more…


If you want to get involved in the project, please get in touch recruitdifferently@wtpn.org.uk


Many thanks to techSpark, the Engine Shed, University of Bristol, our panel and all others that have helped the initiative get off to a positive start.


Alex Richards November 2022


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