Tech North Talent & Skills Summit: 18 March 2016, Leeds

1 Mar, 2016

The Tech North Talent & Skills Summit will seek to join up thinking around tech talent and digital skills across the north of England. Here’s a bit of background from Ian Fordham, who will be chairing the event and is co-founder of The Education Foundation and CEO of Edtech UK.

A few months ago, we at The Education Foundation were asked by the Tech North team to research and capture insights from the great work that Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are doing across 7 city regions in terms of digital skills and talent.
We found so much to celebrate – from innovative university technical college (UTC) and school models, to cutting-edge industry training and qualifications, from digital programmes piloted in the North being scaled across Europe, to global companies such as LinkedIn mapping city-wide skills gaps.
Above all, we found people, projects and ideas from across the North of England that have the potential to meet the rapidly changing needs of the thriving digital economy. There’s now a need to build, connect and scale.
That’s why we are so excited to be chairing and curating Tech North’s first Talent & Skills Summit on 18th March in Leeds. It’s a chance to convene and gather a cross-sector group of leaders from across the North – from startups, SMEs and employers to LEPs and education institutions – who are passionate about responding to talent and skills challenges with practical solutions and ideas.
Digital Lord and inspiring paralympian Chris Holmes will share why it’s “Make or Break” time for the UK economy in becoming a digital nation, while Andrea Young, Director of the Digital Economy Unit at DCMS brings current insight into the government’s drive for a new UK Digital Strategy and why the Northern Powerhouse holds so much potential.
Industry leaders such as Sue Duke from LinkedIn, Lee Perkins from Sage and Giselle Stewart from Ubisoft will frame the industry challenge. Sandy Lindsay from Juice Academy, Karen Marshall from Accenture, and Lindsay Phillips from HP will share their solutions. And education leaders will tell us why “year 8 is too late” and that skills must start earlier.
I’m also delighted that all seven LEPs will be showcasing their innovations and that Sherry Coutu will be sharing insights gained from linking hundreds of entrepreneurs with schools in the North and explaining why data scale up will enable the North to go further and faster.
What Herb Kim’s appearance last week at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ Select Committee reinforced for me was that the talent and skills issue is THE dominant issue for employers and SMEs across the North, and a priority area for Tech North to focus on to achieve even greater growth and prosperity. New York has already developed a “Technology Talent Pipeline” that joins up approaches to the digital talent challenge, and there is arguably much more that we can learn from what’s happening locally as we can from elsewhere.
The Summit will be a great chance to network, gain insights and shine a light on the talent and energy that’s available in the North. We, the Tech North team and Don’t Panic Events look forward to seeing you in a few weeks’ time.

About the event

The event will take place at The Carriageworks, Leeds on Friday 18 March and will feature keynotes, plenary sessions and panel discussions throughout the day.
We are looking to gather employers, SMEs, LEPs, policy makers, education institutions and other key stakeholders to identify how we can galvanise the power of our community to keep pace with the ever increasing growth and demand for great talent in the North.
We will share what’s working, areas of promise and future-thinking, taking place across the City regions, and explore how we can support developments in the future.
Please note: the event is free to attend but places are limited so please register early. We will contact you shortly to confirm your place at the event if you are successful.
Find out more about the event at and order your ticket to the Tech North Talent & Skills Summit here
Find out more about Ian’s work at The Education Foundation and Edtech UK

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