At current, it is estimated that around 25% of Black Country residents don’t use the internet regularly, or have never used the internet, which is one of the highest rates in England and Wales. However, efforts from councils and education establishments are looking for all that to change.
Just down the road is Leamington Spa, now colloquially called ‘Silicon Spa‘ due to it’s rise in the media and gaming industry. Taking inspiration from them, the Black Country is now looking to be a leading digital region by 2020.
The infrastructure is there, 97.8% of Black Country premises have access to superfast broadband should they want it, which is the highest in the UK.
The local councils are pushing forward with plans to improve ICT skills in primary, secondary and further education so that local residents have the required skill sets to fill local job vacancies, contributing to the innovation and growth of the region.
The University of Wolverhampton produces many ICT graduates, however there is a need to attract graduates to return back to the Black Country as ICT skills are wide ranging. There is a need to ensure that the region’s businesses are able to tap into digitally competent employees through internships, graduate recruitment, apprenticeships and links with schools. In addition, there is a need to support graduates to start up their own businesses so that their skills are retained in the area, opening up further opportunities for them to access, such as gamification and Building Information Modelling (BIM) skills that are used in local businesses.
When the influx of internet users hits, businesses need to be ready and optimised for the digital age. Only 1/3 of small and medium sized enterprises have a website, which will be insufficient when the Black Country becomes a leading digital region and relies on these technologies to win business. Getting left behind is now a real danger for businesses in the area, and one which is so easily avoided. By using SEM and SEO you can prepare your business for the future and the now. Long gone are the days of yellow pages, and you now need to climb the Google ladder in order to win clients. This doesn’t have to be expensive, and some knowledge and expertise can go a long way towards putting your business firmly on the digital map.