DTI-funded government agency Yorkshire Forward will announce a £2 million investment in Mac training in Yorkshire at Macworld Expo, New York, next week.

The body aims to train 2,000 people per year in Mac applications, answering a local need for such skills in Yorkshire's "equivalent" of Silicon Valley.

Jim Farmery, Yorkshire Forward's digital team manager, explained: “We have some major digital-industry companies in the region – Ananova's based in Leeds, Attik is in Huddersfield.” Attik is launching the world's first Master's Degree in digital creative imaging at Huddersfield University.

Creative focus Farmery said: “We have a very strong creative industry in the area – companies tend to be smaller, and can't invest as much in training as they need, so it's difficult for them to remain competitive.

“Creative companies have been saying to us: if you are looking at a computer platform to develop for the creative industries, then it has to be Macs.”

Creative industries based in the Yorkshire and Humber region employ over 45,000 people, and generate £4 billion per year. Leeds has evolved as the fastest growing media and new-media centre in the UK, the DTI body claims.

Production valued Identified skill shortages the body hopes to rectify include: multimedia and Web design; CD-ROM production and video production.

To provide the training, Yorkshire Forward is working with the Learning and Skills Council, which is acting as a training provider.

The body is also working with local business, matching the Skills Council up with firms to help them access training. Farmery said: “The main focus is on business development within existing businesses in the region.”

It's understood that Mac skills training will also be made more available through local colleges and training centres.