In this post Colin, Managing Partner here at The Candidate blogs live from The European Commission in Brussels.
It was another great day working at The Candidate today as I proudly represented our agency at The European Commission in Brussels. In our drive for Talent Creation in the Northwest, I joined over 100 SMEs and academic institutions from across Europe at The Commission's Education, Audiovisual and Cultural Agency. High on the agenda is how important funding is to help build co-operation between universities and SMEs, ultimately developing our candidates skill sets and increasing the labour pool. Included in our contribution is the feedback we've received from our business partners including Google Lithuania, JD Sports, Carat, On The Beach and Manning Gottleib OMD, some of which were at our recent meeting for identifying the Top 10 International Digital Marketing Skills.
If there's been one theme which has dominated our 3 years at The Candidate it's been the skills shortage in The Northwest and throughout the UK in digital marketing. Collectively we all agree that it urgently needs to be addressed but actually setting time aside to deal with it is the single biggest issue the region's stakeholders have. Discussions, reports and research released by us, trade bodies and organisations like Manchester Digital and SAScon have also highlighted the cause. There are a range of apprenticeships, internships and under graduate programmes to address this but what we're looking at is another solution which is a joint approach between universities and companies to offer Masters level students placements within marketing environments within advertising agencies and SMEs. The project we're working on is JEMSS , which has become the Joint European Masters in Digital and Social Media Marketing.
Working with University of Salford, Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania), University of Lodz (Poland), University of National and World Economy (UNWE) (Bulgaria), CITY College (Greece) and Ilyan (Bulgaria) we have surveyed hundreds of SMEs and students to identify their issues, problems and needs within digital marketing recruitment and skills requirements. This has all created invaluable input into the type of programmes SMEs can offer the Masters students and also benefit from the Social Media and Digital Marketing curriculum. Importantly it has given us all at The Candidate an intimate understanding of SMEs recruitment requirements, their approach to addressing this issue and how we can help with this.
We're only one year into the programme development and we've got an even firmer grasp on SME and advertising agency requirements. We're looking for more agencies and companies to get involved as your opinion counts towards not only the development of the course but how we can help address the skills shortage. Collectively we can help address this and continue to make The Northwest the Digital Hub of the UK and Europe.