Digital Native plugs into Birmingham’s tech talent

Apprenticeships provider aiming to create 400 local jobs aided by  the local talent pool and active business community.

Technology training provider Digital Native has moved into Birmingham’s Custard Factory, and is set to create 400 jobs over the next five years for young people across the Midlands.

The SME provides apprenticeships for teenagers in Business Intelligence (BI), a form of customer data analysis that informs company development and solves practical business issues – such as Tesco’s Clubcard scheme. Digital Native offers the only BI courses in the UK, with input from industry leaders from companies ranging from global IT consultancy CapGemini to specialist BI firms IT Performs and NeutrinoBI.

Digital Native’s founders Suzanne Higginson, Tony Harper and Martin Stilgoe spotted a gap in the market for BI training. Birmingham beat other locations across the UK to secure the company.

Stilgoe said: “With the UK facing a skills shortage in many industries, expanding companies are turning to apprenticeships to ensure their employees have the ability to adapt to future business requirements. Business Intelligence can provide huge benefits to companies – but they need the right staff to make the most of this niche area.

“After looking at different locations across the UK, Birmingham was certainly the right place for us. The Custard Factory provides us with a vibrant, creative environment and local talent that we couldn’t find anywhere else. By basing ourselves in Digbeth, we’re in the heart of the city’s creative and digital clusters, so we have a wide business network to collaborate with. Digital Native also received plenty of support and advice from local organisations such as Business Birmingham.”

Digital Native’s courses, which are financed by the Skills Funding Agency, will start in January with 20 apprentices – with more courses due to run in April and September. The apprentices will complete a Level 3 IT Qualification (equivalent to A Levels) and specialist BI training. Potential employers can benefit from a grant of up to £3,000 per apprentice, plus advice in areas such as insurance and HR.


The company is now looking to partner with other businesses, join forces with potential employers and recruit more apprentices. Long-term, Digital Native aims to replicate its Birmingham courses across the UK.


Local inward investment agency Business Birmingham has been working to support Digital Native as the company establishes itself in the city. Investment Director Wouter Schuitemaker added: “Digital Native joins a group of specialist training providers across Birmingham – including Gamer Camp and Birmingham Ormiston Academy – which also work closely with industry partners to ensure the next generation have the skills they need to join the workforce.


“The company’s move to Birmingham demonstrates how much the city has to offer, both for tech firms looking to employ the best people – and young people wanting to join this growing industry.”

Birmingham is one of the UK’s major digital hubs, with over 6,000 tech firms employing some 38,300 people. There are 40,000 students studying computer science or business in the city each year Lucan Gray, owner and director of the Custard Factory, said: “The Custard Factory is the heart of Birmingham’s digital and technology sector. For the 500 businesses based here, and for many of the region’s large blue chip companies that thrive on innovation, it is essential that the Midlands has a strong pool of highly skilled IT workers to tap into.

“We are proud to be the new home of Digital Native UK which is helping us to revolutionise IT training and ensure that companies have the resources they need to stay competitive in this rapidly growing global sector.”