Experts call for firms to go digital

THINKING DIGITALLY: Clare Fenwick from Hartlepool recruitment firm Watson Lily
THINKING DIGITALLY: Clare Fenwick from Hartlepool recruitment firm Watson Lily

BUSINESSES taking part in a new digital training initiative could generate a £10m boost for the Tees Valley economy.

The initiative - Get Your Head Into Digital - sees five weeks of free digital skills workshops being held for businesses.

It’s hoped more than 200 companies will adopt digital technologies as a result of the workshops.

Experts at Tees Valley Unlimited today revealed that if the initiative achieves its aims then the Tees Valley economy could benefit by more than £10m over three years through job creation, higher profits for businesses and wages for staff.

More than 100 businesses have registered to attend the workshops and more are registering every day - organisers say those who’ve yet to sign up should do so without delay as the workshops will end on April 2.

There are said to be around 4,300 businesses in the Tees Valley who have no effective digital presence and low or basic online skills – based on the Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index, although it’s believed this figure could be much higher.

Get Your Head Into Digital is part of the Government’s national SME Digital Capability Challenge Programme and is being run by Teesside’s DigitalCity and the Tees Valley Business Compass.

The workshops cover a range of topics including getting your business online, selling online, using social media to reach more customers, business banking online and accessing business files from any device anywhere in the world.

Michael Ryding, director of DigitalCity, said: “There are a huge number of economic benefits to businesses of all sizes and sectors in using digital.

“The figures speak for themselves. Those businesses which have a digital presence are more profitable than those that don’t.”

Clare Fenwick is the chief executive and founder of the Hartlepool-based executive recruitment firm Watson lily and she says digital tools help run her business efficiently.

She said the firm sources and hires people for commercial, project and technical engineering roles in the oil and gas, process and renewable energy sectors internationally.

She added: “That means we’re often talking to customers, potential candidates and partners in different countries where there’s no prospect that we can meet face to face – so we use Skype for online video meetings and interviews.”

To find out more and book a place on a workshop, visit