In a high-octane dialogue for YouTube video series Digital Futures, Gerard Grech offers Shivvy Jervis his take on bridging the very real digital divide.
“Digital skills – together with the right economic and policy conditions – are what will make our economy as resilient as possible.”
Reassuring insight on what it will take to sustain a robust digital economy, from the man driving the organisation tasked with accelerating the growth of digital businesses across the UK.
How can we make the digital revolution inclusive, taking the country’s non-technical population along for the ride? Despite smartphone adoption having skyrocketed, how do we address a very real digital divide? And what conditions might governments, business leaders and policymakers help provide that will sustain the magnificent growth the sector is enjoying?
I’ve been relentlessly investigating these at-times contentious themes in my digital economy themed mini-specials, as part of the wider Digital Futures series. Early interviewees include Innotech’s Jennifer Arcuri and the UK’s Digital Minister Ed Vaizey, and I was keen to add Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, to that impressive roster.
“Tech start-ups are not about technology, they’re about people,” asserted Grech. “These people, of course, ultimately create the tech that powers the products and services, but it comes down to talent,” he continued.
I press Grech on the tangible steps that could be taken to create a robust pipeline of talent for the sector.
“It’s the responsibility of those of us already in the tech industry to educate, inspire and inform others,” opines Grech.
On the newsworthy topic of tackling gender inequity in the industry, he suggests targeting school-leavers, particularly girls, and training them in technical subjects. And, while gender diversity is a huge priority for the tech sector, Grech and I agree that other gender agnostic elements are also at play here and must be dealt with head on – skills and talent diversity, for instance.
Ultimately, though, Grech wants to ensure that both women and men have a “perfectly good shot at doing very well out of the digital economy”. Heck, I’ll second that.
I’d rather you heard first-hand from the man himself, though! Watch Grech in conversation with me here.
Shivvy Jervis is an award-winning producer and presenter of two video series on future tech – The Trailblazers and Digital Futures – both of which regularly pull in over 250,000 viewers per episode. Named one of 34 women ‘changing the face of tech in the UK’, she discovers founders whose inventions use tech for good, and demystifies future tech.