It truly is a privilege to be able to welcome to Swindon a new programme to help people improve their digital skills.

We are a forward-thinking, innovative council who are keen to harness technological advances. Whether it is championing hydrogen cars or creating state-of-the-art facilities for start-up tech firms, we are always encouraging people to switch on to Swindon.

That is why the new digital skills programme – Digisheds – is such an exciting initiative. The Digisheds Smart Skills Course is the brain child of Tin Smart Social who are working in partnership with the Institute of Coding, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Higher Futures, and Create Studios and we are thrilled that they will soon be taking up residence in the newly-refurbished Carriage Works.

Thanks to a £2m investment by Swindon Borough Council, the Carriage Works, one of the centrepieces of the town’s rich heritage, recently saw the opening of the Workshed. This innovative business hub offers 150 cutting edge work spaces for growing businesses. It is, quite simply, the perfect place to host the Digisheds programme.

We know just how important it is to provide facilities for skilled and competitive businesses to enable them to innovate and grow. It hasn’t always been easy for employers to attract employees with the right skills, so we are sure that this programme will go some way towards addressing that.

We hope Digisheds will give local people the perfect opportunity to develop the skills to pursue a successful career in the digital sector. The scheme will also offer SMEs with limited resources the chance to scale-up and contribute to the increasing productivity of Swindon’s thriving economy.

As a council, we are currently on track to fulfil our pledge to improve the reputation and image of Swindon to attract more inward investment. Throughout the next year, we will be focussing resources at markets outside the town to attract new businesses and talent, as well as looking to increase the employment rate to be in line with the best of the South West, while remaining above the national average.

In short, we are living in very exciting times for ambitious businesses in Swindon. The future, said Professor Hawking, exists as a spectrum of possibilities, and with the Digisheds programme, anything is possible.