Sunderland isn’t a city that gets mentioned often alongside tech hotspots like Seattle, California’s Silicon Valley or even London’s Silicon Roundabout.

But that could all be about to change. A recent report claims that Wearside has one of the highest rates of job creation within the tech sector.

According to the Tech Nation Report, the number of people working in tech in Sunderland has increased by a staggering 26% in the past four years.

Added to that, Sunderland’s digital businesses turned over around £118 million last year, which works out at £78,000 per employee.

The Tech Nation Report especially praised the contributions of the University of Sunderland, Sunderland Software City, and online gaming firm Tombola to Wearside’s tech scene.

The report found that Sunderland’s tech start-ups felt encouraged by the city’s helpful tech community, easy-to-access resources and the presence of the University of Sunderland.

For the last decade, the university has been working together with Software City to make sure that Wearside’s tech sector has the facilities, support, connections and skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

The University of Sunderland has also collaborated with Tombola to introduce a degree-apprenticeship scheme.

Under this scheme, school leavers do a paid apprenticeship at Tombola while studying for a degree at the university. This gives the participants the advantages of debt-free study and practical on-the-job training, with the possibility of full-time roles at Tombola at the end of the apprenticeship.

The annual Tech Nation Report – which studies the strength of tech sectors in different parts of the UK – found that the north east had the fastest growing IT sector outside London.

Other north-east cities praised by the report include Middlesbrough and Newcastle, which has for some time had a reputation as something of a tech hotspot.

In the nation as a whole, the IT industry is becoming increasingly important.

In 2015, the UK’s digital sector grew 50% faster than the rest of the economy and Tech Nation estimate that in 2017 more than 1.5 million people were working in Britain’s tech sector or in tech roles in other industries.  

(Featured image courtesy of Intel Free Press, from Flickr Creative Commons.)

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