Thames Valley businesses have had their views presented to senior government officials at Number 10 Downing Street, by the UK Tech Cluster Group.
Leaders from technology clusters from across the UK were invited to speak with special adviser to the prime minister and the department for digital, media, culture and sport about the opportunities and challenges faced by the technology sector. As part of the meeting, the UK Tech Cluster Group presented its Grass roots report to central government on issues and opportunities in our regions.
The report brings together the views of startups and scale ups from across the UK, and was supported by regional development professionals from different regional technology clusters. During the research, four key areas were identified as being pivotal in developing a sustainable tech eco-system capable of powering UK plc. These were: the policy and funding environment; key skills development for working across sectors; supporting innovation, both within traditional industries and the tech sector itself; and development of a coherent infrastructure for support organisations.
During the meeting, the group discussed local initiatives that have successfully supported the growth of the tech sector. Louize Clarke, founder, ConnectTVT, represented the Thames Valley.
Clarke commented: “The Thames Valley consistently over-performs when it comes to digital and tech productivity and impact and yet the theme coming through from businesses and employers is the widening talent gap. For the region to maintain its tech leadership, we need to see some serious investment and joining of dots around how we create a diverse, sustainable and relevant talent pool. Collaboration, community building and action on the ground, rather than “skills theatre” will be critical to this.”
David Dunn said: “As we look towards the future, it’s vital that the tech sector continues to thrive and that all industries are able to access the digital skills and services they need to compete. The people who know what support is required in order to achieve this are the startups and scale ups at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, yet often these are the voices missing from conversation on policy. Our intention, with both the Grass roots report and the UK Tech Cluster Group more generally, is to ensure that the views of our regional firms are represented to government.”
The UK Tech Cluster Group is a self-assembled group of individuals and organisations that represent geographical clusters of technology and digital businesses across the UK. The group meets regularly to discuss issues affecting regional technology clusters, and highlight opportunities at both a regional and national level.
Working closely with the department for digital, culture, media and sport and other government departments, the UK Tech Cluster Group aims to highlight opportunities for national policy changes and innovative pilot programmes. It is able to provide both strategic insight and grass-roots level feedback on proposed activities.