20 September 2016

In yesterday’s blog I wrote about BBC series Tech Talent, in particular Rory Cellan-Jones’ article about the state of the British tech industry.

code club UKFast

Teaching the next generation of tech talent.

Responding to the Tech Talent coverage that is asking whether the UK could ever compete in the global tech industry, I talked about the impact of tax and start-ups being overshadowed by the larger companies in terms of press – but I never mentioned all the things we do at UKFast to enable us to create Britain’s own ‘Silicon Valley’.

It got me thinking: what would it even mean to be more like Silicon Valley? Is it just about the size or turnover of our company? Is it about the style of offices or the type of people working there?

When I think of Silicon Valley, I think of a creative tech community, where people enjoy coming to work and where innovative new products are created. If you ask me, that’s exactly what we are doing here at UKFast and I am seeing it across startups and tech companies in Manchester too.

Our offices are definitely up there with the likes of Facebook and Google. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into a creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable and energised. Our Campus has its own gym, crèche and bar. We have sleeping pods, creative meeting spaces and planned dog kennels.

Our community means a great deal to us. We hold many events in our in-house auditorium, hosting our peers in the industry for free, providing an opportunity to teach, learn and network.

We also understand the value of education, ensuring that nobody ever stops learning by delivering both external and in-house training. We don’t only focus on our current team, but plan for future talent too. Our award-winning apprenticeships with custom-written curriculums are designed to tackle the skills gap in the IT industry. There’s no question that if we want to create a generation of digital innovators, we need to be able to inspire young people. That’s why we work with schools, colleges and universities across the UK.

It’s clear to me that Manchester is extraordinary in terms of the relationship between businesses and education. Not only do we have a strong apprenticeship scene, there are real-world business opportunities for young people in education. We’ve got amazing schools and universities in this city, so why would there be a lack of talent?

The Manchester tech community is thriving and I’m so excited to be part of this latest revolution for the city that has proven to be at the forefront of technology throughout history.

It’s through our hard work that we are building an amazing reputation, not only with our customers, but also with tech talent wanting to come and join our team. Manchester is already competing with other tech hubs all over the world, including places like London, Berlin and Amsterdam – and we are only just gaining momentum!

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