Talent & Skills: Coral bids farewell but the great work she started continues

25 Feb, 2016

As you may have heard I’m off to pastures new – or rather returning to run my own consultancy in Manchester after an amazing six months with Tech North.

As Tech North’s Head of Talent & Skills, I’ve had the opportunity to lay the foundations for some fantastic projects which are now starting to come to fruition, and I’ve worked with some great people to prepare the groundwork.
Partnership and collaboration are among the Northern tech and digital industry’s greatest strengths, and I’d like to thank everyone I’ve worked with from companies and education providers to the community organisers who have invested their time to work with me to develop the talent programme.
The last quarter of 2015 was all about fact finding, engaging with stakeholders all across the north, and preparing to launch a huge variety of activities. Many of those projects are now getting underway. It’s going to be great to see the results in the months ahead as the projects become embedded and start to deliver on Tech North’s Talent & Skills programme, with the support of my Tech North colleagues. Some of the activities that are now going live include:


We commissioned the Education Foundation to consult with each of the seven Northern LEPs to discover areas of great practice, shared priorities and opportunities for collaboration across the North.

Careers information:

Career Hacker our partnership with Sunderland based start-up and Northern Star Geek Talent has just gone live in beta, supporting innovation in digital careers advice, and using real time big data to allow students, teachers and careers advisers to keep up to date with industry trends. Career Hacker also allows us to display digital jobs on the Tech North website, communicating the volume and variety of tech employers and opportunities.

Global Talent:

We followed up the announcement of the Tech Nation Visa (including the Northern fast track) with free legal surgeries to raise the profile of this new route, offering direct advice to applicants and employers, and gaining direct experience to inform feedback to the Home Office. We’ve already held valuable sessions in Newcastle and Manchester, and remaining sessions can be booked in person or via Skype for Sheffield in March.

Code Club:

We’ve announced Tech North’s national partnership with Code Club, and supported a call to action for more volunteers.

14-19 Community Learning:

We participated in Europe’s first Hive Learning Network and are supporting the digitisation of its open source playbook and content production so that community groups in other cities can adapt the toolkit for their own communities.

Broadening the pool:

We supported activity that encourages greater gender diversity in digital, including a partnership with Liverpool Girl Geeks for their Get Your Head Around Code sessions.

Support for the cities:

Our priority was always to support rather than compete with local talent programmes, and are proud sponsors of Manchester Digital Skills FestivalLeeds Digital Jobs Fair and Get Digital in the North East.

March Talent Conference:

Although I’ll be there as a delegate rather than a participant, I’m pleased to see invitations are now out for the Tech North Talent & Skills Symposium, and am delighted that I’ll be able to hear some of you speaking and catch up with many of you there. Register here
I want to take this opportunity to thank and commend all the great people I’ve had the opportunity to know and work with over the past six months. I’ll be saying my goodbyes at the Tech North Social in Manchester on Friday 26 February, and would love it if you could join me. You can book your ticket here.
Coral Grainger and Joanna Shields

I remain proudly passionate of my ambitions for the North, its people and the digital economy, and will be continuing my support through my freelance consultancy Capital Relations Ltd, which I set up in Manchester in 2010.
I wish TCUK, the excellent Tech North team and all our partners in business, education and the community, success in continuing to grow and drive this work forward.  I’m looking forward to working with you all as the North fulfils it’s potential on the global stage.

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