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Awards 2022
Janet Addison Digital Tech Cumbria

New Digital Skills Academy offers Cumbrian businesses access to experts

The Digital Tech Cumbria programme is launching its Digital Skills Academy for Cumbria on Tuesday 16 March and has a programme of online training planned for the coming months.

The Digital Skills Academy will offer eligible Cumbrian businesses access to an exciting range of practical online masterclasses and workshops designed to develop and hone digital skills. Topics scheduled so far include digital marketing, e-commerce, new product and service development, cloud computing and automation with cyber security and other topics in the pipeline.

Janet Addison is Business Development Manager for Digital Tech Cumbria: “Digital technology was already changing the way we worked, lived and communicated before the pandemic and Covid-19 has really accelerated those changes. There are impacts on how we run our businesses, how we manage our people and our money, and how we find new customers.”

“To survive and thrive, Cumbrian businesses need to consider new ways to leverage digital technology in their day-to-day processes and we need a digitally savvy workforce that can operate and maximise the benefits that digital techniques can deliver. The Digital Skills Academy is going to be a great resource to enable business owners, managers and their teams to learn from experts, develop their ideas and then access support from Digital Tech Cumbrian advisers to make change happen.”

The Digital Skills Academy kicks off on Tuesday 16th March with the first of a three-part series called “Increase your sales through a powerful digital marketing strategy” run by Emily Whitehead of Simply Great Britain. Emily is an experienced trainer on digital marketing and has strong expertise in the hospitality industry, particularly pertinent to Cumbria and the Lake District.

The series of three masterclasses, spread over several weeks, will cover:

  • Defining where you are on your digital marketing journey
  • Reviewing your assets and tools and making the most of what you already have
  • Creating a plan for your digital marketing tactics
  • Practical implementation of your digital marketing strategy

By the end of the three masterclasses, participants will have developed a digital marketing strategy and a deliverable implementation plan that’s designed exactly for their business and their priorities.

Following on, dates have now been confirmed for another three sets of masterclasses:

  • Developing standout products and services with digital technology - 16th, 23rd & 30th March
  • How to sell your products through online sales platforms - 18th & 25th March, 1st April
  • Increasing profits through the automation of simple and repetitive tasks - 22nd & 29th March, 19th April.

The last of these is to be delivered by Andrew Armitage of A Digital in Kendal: “This series of masterclasses will cover the full spectrum of skills and resources needed to build a great digital business. Companies joining the masterclasses will be able to benchmark their current activities and identify how they can scale their time and resources more effectively with the support of technology.”

Andrew continues, “Setting up automation can seem a daunting prospect but the benefits can be significant. A great example of an easy automation would be to automatically forward supplier invoices into your cloud accounting system such as Xero, where they will automatically be converted into a bill awaiting payment. The time saved from having to manually enter data and upload invoices can then be spent on more valuable tasks within the business. That’s a simple example and I’m hoping that, working together over three sessions, everyone will find their own priorities and have the support to be able to make them happen.”

The Academy is one strand of the broader Digital Tech Cumbria programme. Mark Modena is a Director of Winning Moves, the organisation that is responsible for Digital Tech Cumbria and other business support and digital initiatives across the UK. “The Digital Skills Academy is designed for small and medium-sized enterprises and we’re keen to enrol participants onto the broader Digital Tech Cumbria support programme too.”

“The programme supports business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies at present and we’re working with businesses in the manufacturing, professional services, tourism and many other sectors. It offers access to local digital technology experts and, as lockdown eases, there will be exemplar visits where people can see digital technologies in action and showcases that help businesses learn about, interact and test-drive the latest digital technologies.”

There is more information about Digital Tech Cumbria and the Digital Skills Academy online at The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Criteria: To enrol for Digital Tech Cumbria and the Digital Skills Academy, businesses need to be an independent SME that has been trading for at least 12 months and is registered in Cumbria.

PHOTO: Janet Addison is Business Development Manager for Digital Tech Cumbria, based near Penrith.