Boasting arguably the best countryside and coastline that the country has to offer, it’s no surprise that the South West is one of the top lifestyle destinations in the UK.
Tourists from across the world flock en-masse throughout the year to enjoy the slower pace of life and a cream tea or two (cream first, of course).
As a native Northerner, I often found myself jealous of the lifestyle opportunities available in the South West.
So much so, that I relocated down to Devon in November 2015 to immerse myself in the endless outdoor possibilities on my new doorstep.
Coming straight into a digital recruitment role with Aptus, I was surprised at the immediate challenge we face in the South West – talent retention and attraction.
When speaking with employers, they tell us that there’s a shortage of suitable candidates; on the other hand, candidates are telling us there’s a shortage of opportunities.
How can this be when the South West is such a great place to live?
As a company, Aptus sought to challenge these perceptions by partnering with relevant focus groups such as Digital Exeter, Digital Plymouth and Tech South West, then conducting ongoing research into the issues we face.
We found that Bristol largely benefits from an influx of skilled employees from Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, but then also faces its own challenges with the lure of larger cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Following our initial research, we published the very first Aptus Guide to digital and creative employers in the South West as a way of showcasing the opportunities in the region.
We’re now looking to expand on that and a second guide centred on the requirements of employees in the digital and creative space is in production.
Our plan is to help businesses to better understand and accommodate the needs of their staff, as well as involving local thought leaders and even local government officials to address the wider concerns.
Raising the digital profile of the South West is something that I have an ever-growing passion for, and it’s a topic that can be (and has been) debated for hours on end.
I look forward to discussing more at Huddles and I welcome any initial thoughts to help shape the conversation.
Shaun will be delivering opening and closing remarks at Huddles Bristol.
He'll also be on hand to answer any questions you have about hiring digitally-skilled staff or working in digital.