Case study

Developing new professions for new businesses: Software City

30 Mar 2017

Sunderland Software City (SSC) is inspiring and enabling the growth of the software sector in the North East of England, establishing the region as one of the world’s leading destinations for technology innovation and enterprise. The private sector initiated, publicly backed organisation (it is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund), brings together the best of the public, private and educational sectors to generate a sustainable software industry in the region and drive the development of world-class software businesses. This includes continuing to work closely with partners like Sunderland City Council, the University of Sunderland and Sunderland College to ensure the region’s software industry has the facilities, access to opportunities, support, connections and skills it needs to compete globally.

SSC actively represents the sector and collaborates with organisations including the Digital Catapult, Tech City UK and Tech North to deliver new initiatives that accelerate the development of the region’s software economy; attracting talent, investment and the recognition the North East deserves, and critically develop opportunities for future careers in the sector.

Sunderland Software City has a comprehensive network of businesses of all sizes and a dedicated Skills Manager within the organisation to connect students with potential employers, work experience and placement opportunities. The organisation regularly attends University placement and recruitment fairs representing the software and technology sector and raise awareness of the employment opportunities within the region through guest lectures, site visits and media activity. As a key partner of the project, SSC works alongside the University of Sunderland to ensure that students and academic staff are aware of the sector skills needs and work to ensure courses and curriculums meet the needs of industry and result in better graduate employability.

Amy Watson, Communications Manager for Sunderland Software City, spoke about how SSC works with the university to provide software, tech and computing students opportunities to enhance their employability:

"Sunderland and the wider North East has a vibrant and thriving technology sector and an unrivalled start-up ecosystem supported by the public and private sector. The region boasts more computer science graduates than any other UK region outside of London and with over 25,000 people currently employed in the region in digital tech roles in over 2000 software companies, the North East is the perfect location to start and build successful careers in the tech industry…The recent Tech Nation Report 2016, found that Digital Tech salaries in the North East are increasing at double the national average rise and this combined with a comparably low cost of living and a great work-life balance makes the region an attractive choice for graduates, start-ups and established businesses working in the digital tech industry.”

Sunderland is home to some of the most innovative and exciting technology companies in the UK, from world-leading organisations such as Sale Cycle, based at Rainton Bridge Business Park, that have offices in eight locations around the world and work with brands such as Panasonic, Virgin Atlantic, DKNY and McAfee to game-changers such as Geek Talent who are revolutionising industries through new technologies and innovative products.