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Introduction to our Chair…

Date: 8 Jul

I was flattered to be selected for this role, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with such a diverse and skilled group.

I am devoted to the continued development of digital skills across Cornwall. As a Director of a fast-growing software company, I have a vested interest in ensuring we are enabling local people to work in the growing Cornish Tech sector.

I was at an event recently where someone who had left Cornwall some years ago said: “The Cornish Tech scene is exciting, but they aren’t really Cornish jobs, are they? You won’t be employing locals.” This is everything I want to change. As Chair, I think I’ll have a real opportunity to make that change happen by working with the other talented and passionate people on the board.

We all have a lot of the same goals. By working together to make stuff happen, it means we can make an even more significant impact for Cornwall.

What Experience will you bring to the role?

I am a Director on Bluefruit’s Company Board. Being on the board has taught me a lot about getting things done and creating positive change using an Agile approach.

I’ve also previously worked at Cornwall Development Company where I helped set up a Tech Cornwall initiative to promote the sector outside of Cornwall. I’m also an active member of Software Cornwall, and I’ve volunteered as a mentor at several of their training events such as Tech Jams, Mission to Mars and the Agile Huddle.

What do you consider to be the priority for the Digital Skills agenda in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly?

I think there are three key things we need to work on: We need to change of perception around jobs in Cornwall. People need to understand that there is a massive opportunity for them within the Digital and Technical space for well-paid jobs both in Cornwall and across the UK. This not only applies to kids growing up in Cornwall, but it’s also essential that people looking to reskill or retrain know that there is a vibrant job market hungry for good people.

We need to ensure we are skilling our youth for the jobs of tomorrow not just the jobs of today. Things are moving very quickly in several sectors, and we must help people not only keep up but lead the way. Someone who wants to be a farmer, a doctor, a solicitor or a builder might not realise how much tech they are likely to use on the job. Understanding this and encouraging a multi-skilled approach will help ensure they are ready for the sector they will eventually work in.

There is a global challenge around a lack of diversity in Tech. In Cornwall, we still only have about 10% of girls and women attending code clubs and programs like Mission to Mars. Fewer are applying to study it at school. I’m already working with several other women in digital around Cornwall on some ideas in this space, and I think the DSP could help amplify our actions. We also can’t forget about the other people often left out of tech. People from disadvantaged backgrounds who might not have the same level of access to computers at home or the awareness that this is a possible career path for them. For us, the more diverse the sector is, the better, and I’m looking forward to continued conversations around how we encourage inclusive digital skills development for everyone Cornwall.

Why do you feel that being a part of things like the CIoS DSP is good for Bluefruit?

Bluefruit Software has always been interested in “homegrown talent”. Being based in Cornwall, we would love to hire as many locals as possible. We’ve worked hard with schools and colleges to try to help train up future embedded engineers. Embedded skills are not something traditionally taught in school, so we’re also interested in exploring alternative ways of teaching and skilling up a future workforce.

We’ve been around for 20 years and plan to be around for at least another 20. We believe in investing in that future. After all, a 15-year-old today could make a fantastic employee in five years.