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Commerce and Industry

The Journal For Business to Business Marketing

Tech skills start-up to broaden its reach with new training centre

Antonio Tombanane outside the new premises

A trio of tech businesses which were set up to drive the development of digital businesses in Hull and East Yorkshire have secured a prime city centre site as the home for a technology education and training centre.

CGIs of the new-look building

Kingston House in Myton Street, Hull, will become the home for The Edge Hub, which was set up earlier this year by tech recruitment and event specialists who identified a skills gap in their sector.

The revamped building is expected to open in spring 2022 with The Edge Hub working with global brands, rising stars of the local tech scene and key partners from local authorities and education to offer a wide range of training and upskilling services to individuals and businesses.

Antonio Tombanane, co-founder of The Edge Hub, said: “We moved into training because of our experience and expertise in IT and in running the first specialist IT recruitment business in the area. We recognised there is a big skills gap in the region and education couldn’t address the problem on its own.

“Online learning alone is not sufficient because people who are not confident with IT are probably not going to go online in the first place, so we are creating a place and a community where people can learn digital skills.”

The new company was formed by Antonio and his colleague Jo Fleming – his partner in existing Hull-based tech ventures IT Recruitment and GBE Connect – plus experienced entrepreneurs Shaun Larvin and Simon Lunt.

The Edge Hub partnered with Google to present a digital marketing event in September and next week GBE Connect will collaborate with partners from every level of the industry to deliver Tech Week Humber, which on Tuesday 9 November includes Tech Expo at the Bonus Arena.

Kingston House stands across the road from the Arena and gives The Edge Hub nearly 9,500 square feet across three floors to create training suites, a networking area and a gym under the guidance of Brough-based architects ar2 and Hull-based designers Den Interiors.

Global brands which have committed to working with the project include IBM and Google, with more expected to confirm in the coming weeks and months. Wilberforce College in Hull will be one of the education partners and Hull City Council will be involved in supporting training opportunities.

Antonio said: “Our contact at IBM is looking forward to seeing the premises when she flies in next week for Tech Week Humber. Google has already delivered an event with us and will be one of our partners in training and mentoring for digital entrepreneurs as part of their campaign to mentor 10,000 businesses globally.

“Between us we will provide platforms to train and upskill students, businesses and entrepreneurs. If people are unemployed we can help them back into employment, and if they have a job we can help them to progress. In partnership with the global tech giants we will help to upskill the workforce.”

The three tech businesses currently employ seven people between them and the new building is expected to support the creation of 10 jobs over the next 12-18 months.

Antonio said: “This shows how our businesses are working together to develop the skills which will support Hull’s growing status as a city known for its digital prowess. Tech Week Humber attracts people and gets them thinking about tech and The Edge Hub provides training and upskilling and innovation. IT Recruitment helps people with their careers because digital skills are very much in demand. We ask ourselves how many people’s lives we can change using digital skills?”

Mark Jones, Director of Regeneration at Hull City Council, said: “The growth of the digital sector in recent years has seen new digital businesses setting up primarily within the city centre with a particular focus around C4DI at the Fruit Market. At the same time more traditional businesses are making greater use of technology to improve what they already do.  We know there is much more to come and it is great to see the tech sector choosing to locate close to KCOM and the Bonus Arena.

“The result of this is a growing need for digital skills and we are looking forward to working with The Edge Hub in their new premises to meet that demand by training our young people, upskilling the existing workforce and creating the good quality jobs and careers which will attract more talent into the area.”

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