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Digital skills

Catch22 patron, HRH The Princess Royal visits Digital Edge programme

HRH The Princess Royal talks to attendees with a Digital Edge logo on a screen to the right.

Catch22 and Microsoft’s Digital Edge programme received the Royal seal of approval this week as Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Catch22’s patron, visited the Microsoft Experience Centre to hear about its success. 

Digital Edge is an employability programme delivered by Catch22 and funded by Microsoft, that supports people facing barriers to work to forge careers in the digital and tech sectors. Since October 2020, the programme has supported 230 candidates to access digital skill training and 100 people into digital roles, including: Digital MarketerData Analyst, Support Technician and Games Designer. 

Her Royal Highness chatted to participants on the programme, their career coaches, as well as staff from Catch22 and Microsoft. She presented awards to successful participants and employers who have contributed to the programme.  

In her address to guests, she praised those who had taken part in the programme and emphasised the importance of digital skills in the job market. 

Naomi Hulston, Catch22 CEO, said: 

“We are absolutely committed here at Catch22 to making sure that everyone – no matter what their background, their educational attainment or their challenges – has the opportunity to secure a good quality job. The Digital Edge programme is playing a big part in this; skilling up people to enter a sector that provides a huge array of roles and that is growing rapidly.” 

One participant on the Digital Programme told her Career Coach: 

“I was so anxious about the Digital Edge programme with so many people, I was so close to quitting the course. With your encouragement and advice I managed to stay and I’m so glad I did. All the CVs and cover letter practice and interview practice, especially around the IT questions and technical marketing questions definitely helped me, and applications as well! First application, first interview, first job, that’s amazing! I don’t think anyone else can say that!’ 

“Joining Digital Edge has completely changed everything, I’m a Digital Communication Officer now, and I never thought I’d have that title before joining Digital Edge.” 

At the event, Microsoft UK CEO announced Microsoft was committing more funding to the programme so that it can expand to the North East of England and the Manchester-Yorkshire corridor.  

Clare Barclay, Microsoft UK CEO, said: 

 “The changing pace of technology creates amazing opportunities but it does not always create them equally. Thanks to our partnership with Catch22 and the support of its patron HRH The Princess Royal, we have been able to make important progress on closing this digital divide. 

“The Digital Edge programme is about opening up careers to bring everyone forward, no matter their background. It has had such an impact empowering underserved communities into tech careers that we are expanding the programme to the North-East of England and the Manchester-Yorkshire corridor to support an additional 1,100 individuals.”