London is a hot place when the sun shines. On Wednesday it got well over thirty degrees. I think I was the only one in the capital to be wearing a jacket and tie but standards have to be kept. I had caught the train down (yes not up) to present at a conference on ‘Transforming The Way We Work: A Vision for Mobile Public Sector.’ It was at the Congress Centre near Tottenham Court Road tube station and fortunately they had air conditioning.
My talk was on ‘Optimising Smart Working in Local Government: More than an Advanced ICT strategy’ and I’d been given a twenty minute slot. I’d practiced it several times and at the last count it came in at nineteen minutes and fifty three seconds. I also had a seat on the questions and answer session which came at the end of our group of three speakers. This is the second time I’ve done that in a few weeks.
I’ve used what I talked about on several occasions and so much of it will have appeared in this blog before but I’ll try and dig out a few nuggets. I might even get more than one blog out of the material.
I talked about my role at Durham as well as my involvement in NEICT, SOCITM_NE and Dynamo as part of my interest in how technology will transform the lives of our residents, particularly across the region.
I talked about how I am an advisory board member of Dynamo North East, the organisation working to grow the regional tech economy and I told them a bit about the North East that may have surprised them. For example, it is the fastest growing region in the UK for start-ups, it is the only region that is a net exporter of product, it has a positive balance of trade and there are about 30,000 tech jobs across 1300 companies. As an aside I let the audience know that there are more cars built in the north east than the whole of Italy and soon most of the trains that we use will be built in Durham? Trains and ICT, what more could they ask for?
I told them how working with Dynamo we have launched the first ever IT apprentice hub that brings work-ready coding apprentices or better to call them student employees, to market in 12 weeks. The hub takes all of the pain of taking on apprentices away from the employer and how we’re using this as a model across the region. We’re also opening the first University Technical College or UTC, focussed on tech and we have just announced plans to create a MIT like organisation in the region – the Northern Institute for Technology. I told them how these were exciting times in the North East.
It felt really great to stand up in front of eighty or so people and tell them a positive story about what we do and what we are up to. I said nothing about joblessness, or deprivation or life expectancy.
I just told the story about how good it is to be in the North East.