The latest instalment of a Digital Innovators Skills Programme has been launched in the West Midlands, aiming to bridge the gap between education and employment.  

The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN)’s Digital Innovators Skills Programme brings together education providers, business and young people to tackle some of the healthcare industry’s challenges.  

Thirty students will join the programme to develop the skills and confidence needed to succeed in their careers as healthcare innovators. With expert guidance and cross-industry collaboration, they will gain valuable insight into potential career pathways.  

The programme is also expected to benefit businesses in the West Midlands, through the collaborative opportunities available and access to the diverse pool of young talent. 

The programme is run in collaboration with Digital Innovators and was announced at The Ideator event at iCentrum this month.  

During the Ideator workshop participants were introduced to a series of challenges to solve in teams. Challenges included public health (vaping and e-cigarettes) and digital technologies (remote monitoring and health inequalities).  

Over 13 weeks, students on the Digital Innovators Skills Programme will continue to collaborate to develop their ideas into a proof of concept or minimum viable product. At the end of the programme they will take part in a Dragons’ Den style pitch presentation. 

Reena Sidhu, West Midlands AHSN commercial enterprise lead (digital health innovation), said: ‘’It is our goal to provide alternative routes to employment and unlock young people’s potential, hence why we are proud to partner with Digital Innovators to launch this new programme in the West Midlands.” 

She continued: ‘’We are now looking forward to working with these young people and watching their thoughts and ideas flourish into viable products that will help to benefit the health of our region.’’   

Although the Digital Innovators Skills Programme is currently being delivered in the West Midlands, there are ambitions to expand it to other regions, so more young people, businesses, customers and education providers can benefit.  

Earlier this year the West Midlands AHSN supported Thopaz+, a digital healthcare innovation enabling patients recovering from lung surgery or a collapsed lung to be monitored via digital readings.