Photo from a LIFT your career event hosted at Google HQ

How a pioneering project is bringing tech jobs to more people in Islington

Old Street is one of the business success stories of the UK. Companies working in tech, creative and ‘knowledge’ businesses are clustered together in the busy streets of south Islington and neighbouring boroughs. These sectors drive much of the UK economy. In London, the tech sector is growing more than two and a half times faster than the UK average and contributes £184bn to the British economy. 

But in the past, pathways into employment in these industries have not always been accessible for our diverse communities, and local people have missed out on the benefits of this thriving economy.

LIFT (Leading Inclusive Futures through Technology) – is a ground breaking initiative delivering positive change - making sure local people can benefit from the great opportunities on their doorstep. It has just won national recognition having been shortlisted for a prestigious LGC Award in the economic development category. 

Launched in 2021, LIFT is a partnership between the London Boroughs of Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. The programme aims to build a more inclusive knowledge economy, helping local people to get jobs and training in tech, creative and sciences, and supporting businesses and start-ups in these sectors to launch and grow. It focuses on developing the talents of underrepresented residents, especially women and Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  

Of course, businesses don’t recognise borough boundaries, so by working across four boroughs Islington and partners achieved an integrated approach, creating opportunities for residents and businesses across a wider area with significant impact in innovation, growth and inclusion.   

People looking for employment are introduced to the various opportunities open to them and provided with dedicated support develop the skills and confidence for good, long-lasting careers. LIFT also work with local employers to use more inclusive recruitment techniques to tap into the talent on their doorstep with wraparound training and pastoral support for employees. So far, LIFT has seen more than 360 people supported into paid employment in tech, creative, science and other knowledge sectors, and has helped 250 entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses and supported the delivery of two new affordable workspaces. 

One Islington resident is now a Software Developer working for a small conservation and heritage tech agency at Better Space - one of Islington’s affordable workspaces. Interested in coding and a career change, she was connected to the LIFT programme by an Islington Bright Start Employment Support Officer at the local primary school attended by her children. Her journey with LIFT included completing a software development boot camp, benefitting from a variety of networking and upskilling opportunities before she successfully gained a software development internship at the company, she now works in. This is just one of the many success stories brought about by LIFT which have changed people’s lives for the better.   

We're determined to make Islington a more equal place and narrowing the gap between the richest and the poorest in the borough. Everyone in our brilliant borough should be able to benefit from the great economic opportunities all around us - and LIFT is a fantastic example of how we are making that happen.  

Councillor Santiago Bell-Bradford, Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs 

Find out more about LIFT

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.