/ News / Lancashire's Digital Leaders agree to be advocates for equality

1 July 2022 – Senior leaders and digital enthusiasts from across Lancashire’s private and public sectors have made a commitment to drive inclusion and diversity in the county’s tech sector.

People signed up to the Tech Talent Charter (TTC) during the inaugural Lancashire Digital Summit, which was held virtually and in-person at the AMRC North-West on the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone.

The event focused on building diverse and inclusive digital workforces. It was held jointly by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Lancashire County Council.

Kerry Harrison, who leads the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, which supports the work of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Lancashire’s Local Authorities, asked attendees to be advocates for change by signing up to the Tech Talent Charter to make a visible commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Debbie Francis OBE, Chair of the LEP said: “By working together to ensure that we are driving more inclusive, more diverse and much stronger workforces; we can take advantage of the major opportunities presented by the digitalisation of traditional industries, as well as new and emerging sectors.

“Upskilling our current workforces, ensuring our young people are fully equipped with the skills they need to take on the jobs of tomorrow, and breaking down barriers across our county are essential if Lancashire is to meet its ambition of being a true digital leader.”

County Councillor Jayne Rear, Cabinet member for education and skills, said: “The Lancashire Digital Summit has been a real success. Bringing together an incredible array of talent from the county and beyond, the day shone a spotlight on diversity and inclusion and the benefits to both businesses and Lancashire residents.  The future looks bright for this sector with significant growth forecast in employment opportunities. We’re already looking forward to 2023.”

The event included a series of thought-provoking talks, panels and business case studies with interactive breakout workshops from an impressive line-up of speakers.

Topics covered included unconscious bias, embedding digital into the national curriculum, how a door manufacturer undertook an exciting digital transformation in just 18-months, why business should invest in skills bootcamps, and how to engage and make the most of the Gen Z workforce.

Kam Kothia OBE DL, who chairs the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Digital Sector Group provided an overview of the group’s ambitions for the sector in the forthcoming Digital Strategy.  He said that Lancashire’s unique capabilities and recent investment decisions provides the opportunity to create transformational growth, which can only be achieved if the county has more people with digital skills and a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

The agenda concluded with a talk from Dr Emma Young, Chair of the BBC’s Women in STEM Group, who shared her own career journey as a woman working in STEM, and the actions that businesses and individuals can take to ensure increased diversity, and that everyone feels like they belong within their teams.

The full speaker line-up for the Lancashire Digital Summit included Kam Kothia OBE; Kerry Harrison; Emma Young, Rituja Rao, Senior Enterprise Project Manager at Deliveroo; Dr Emily Winter, Lecturer in Computer Science at Lancaster University; Sarah Cooper, Head of Marketing at Strongdor Ltd; Joey Xoto, CEO of Viddyoze; Richard Stoddard, Director of Redmoor Health; Zara Waters, Head of People and Culture at Fuse; Euan Atkin, CEO of Zigaflow; Mo Isap, Founder and CEO of the IN4 Group and Victoria Maxfield from Parrhesia.

The event was organised by Kerry Harrison and Dan Knowles, with special thanks to Garth Drew and Chay Turner Richards for providing technical support and live streaming.

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