TIN Smart Social Ltd delivers accessible and inclusive digital training

Company Name: TIN Smart Social Ltd

Location: Birmingham

Approx Annual Turnover: 160k per annum

FTEs: 8

Our business

TIN Smart Social is a digital skills and talent consulting agency built in 2015 as a response to market failures in the delivery of sustainable and scalable digital literacy and employability routes to in-demand jobs, especially for excluded and disadvantaged groups.

Currently focused on digital skills development in the West Midlands, Digisheds is our free employability stream, a three-phased approach (Transition/Employability/Sector Ready Studio) to digital skills development, with wraparound wellbeing provision and tailored specialist experiential learning for young people to move into work in either Professional and Cloud Services; Creative, Film, Media and Gaming or Digital Manufacturing and Construction. We align with employers looking for digital talent to accelerate growth, a ready to go workforce with the right skills, understanding of work relationships and resilience to meet the challenges of the new world. They just need bringing together.

Alex Cole, CEO

Why did we need to do something different?

We understood the need to create a holistic digital and creative employability programme that could provide career lifelines for young people, which are specifically mapped to talent pipelines for employers. Employers are actively and regularly involved in the programme (with new cohorts starting on a regular basis) – as mentors, coaches and ultimately as destinations for work. So in addition to attracting, assessing and accrediting young people interested in work in the digital and creative industries, they are aligned with employers within those industries who have entry-level positions to fill and their development is aligned for a ‘MatchFit’ to those roles. . There was, and is, a pressing need to support employers to refocus their recruitment lens – making it more deliberately diverse and more inclusive.

For young people, they want ‘training’ to be meaningful and to map to a work pathway – not training for training’s sake. The Digisheds stream (actual, pop-up, and online learning) delivers experiences to transform their raw digital talent into marketable propositions, supporting them to develop, position and promote their skills within a relevant business context – and to understand business culture and objectives. The opportunity for them to get close to employers and to understand more about how technical and soft skills need to be ‘applied’ in the workplace makes their learning more focused and have real value.

What do we do?

Engaging employers from Day 1 and developing programmes that understand and reflect their specific and immediate business growth needs, as well as that of the wider sector, means they are far more invested, in every sense, not only in the outcomes of the young people, but also in their development journeys.

  • CAN DO DIGITAL three-phase development (and can focus on general digital skills development; or on creative digital, media, VR, gaming etc through our Future Talent Studio in collaboration with Create Central) or Professional and Cloud Services in collaboration with ServiceNow.
  • A new structured T LEVEL in Digital Production, Design and Development  (Sixth Form equivalent to 3 A levels) currently offered by Walsall Studio School but expanding to other schools)
  • A Degree Apprenticeship

Young people, especially those from disadvantaged and low engagement areas in society, desperately want and deserve, that route into companies. But they’re often overlooked because they don’t fit into traditional recruitment models, so we work with them, and with the employers to create new routes into employment. Through group workshops, interactive sessions and 1-2-1s we are able to assess the learning styles, preferences and challenges of each member of the cohort – and work with the Brathay Trust to overcome any barriers to learning (wellbeing) and also to build a picture of their wider ambitions and life aspirations.

The programme is designed to be accessible, inclusive and is aimed at delivering advantage where there has been little. Young people come into the Digisheds digital development space interested in developing their digital capabilities and life chances, but also to improve their confidence and understanding of their personal value.

Our BrandMe approach also enables young people to showcase their personality, passions, interests, goals and aspirations; it highlights their digital knowledge, strengths and skills; it builds a profile of softer skills (the T profile that maps to specific roles) and it is an ongoing portfolio of personal and professional learning that is shaped through their career. BrandMe enables young people to present themselves in an application or an interview with an employer confidently, creatively and credibly. Employers can clearly see that, even in an entry-level role, these young people understand their business objectives and can add value.

Cohort members are actively supported throughout their journey from potential to professional.

Results

The first cohort of young people for CAN DO DIGITAL – who began their initial 12 week employability training in February 2020 just before the Covid-19 lockdown  are now completing their final 6 weeks (for the Service Desk or System Admin roles) or 8 weeks (for the Junior Developer roles) and have been offered roles with partner employers at various £30k+ salary levels and also a number are completing further certification in sponsored Sector Ready Studios.

Our Future Talent Studios in collaboration with Create Central and leading organisations in digital creative industries are looking to attract and develop the next generation of digital creative talent in Levels 1-5 Immersive Storytelling (VR/AR); Creative Media Production (TV, Film, Broadcast, Social Network); Gaming and Digital Marketing – a further 6 young people will be progressing through this route.

“Now more than ever we need to support our region’s young, dynamic, creative talent, those without the same opportunities and access to skills development and recruitment. Create Central is proud to be working in close partnership with TIN Smart Social, an organisation that supports the most disadvantaged, excluded and vulnerable groups across the West Midlands.”

Suzie Norton – Executive Lead for Create Central