Delivered by:
Norfolk and Suffolk Council for Digital Tech - Minutes
Chair: Neil Miles
Date: Wednesday 1
December 2021 Time: 14:1516:00
Videoconference (Teams)
Neil Miles, Inawisdom (Chair)
Julian Munson, New Anglia LEP
Fiona Lettice, UEA
Chris Sargisson, Norfolk Chamber
Mark Thomas, Coderus
Sarah Steed, Norwich University of the Arts
Eoin Marsh, Tech Nation
James Allen, New Anglia LEP
John Fagan, Scribe / Sync Norwich
Tim Robinson, Tech East
Viv Gillespie, New Anglia Colleges Gp.
Beccy Coombs, Ipswich Borough Council
Marlon Bowser, HTK
Chris Starkie, New Anglia LEP
John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber
James Duez, Rainbird
Dominic Keen, Britbots
Dean Withey, Ubisend
Steve Kierney, Epos Now
Ellen Tilney, Norwich City Council
Peter Brady, Orbital Media
John Nicholson, West Suffolk College
Lisa Perkins, BT
Jai Raithatha, Suffolk County Council
Catherine Richards, New Anglia Colleges Gp.
Anette Gilham, Ipswich Borough Council
Roberta Willner, Norfolk County Council
Welcome and apologies
Neil Miles welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies received.
Workstream Progress Updates (Tim Robinson & Julian Munson)
Delivered by:
Skills and talent (Tim Robinson):
Digital Skills Task Force meeting next in January and will be employer-led. The focus
areas for the Task Force are non-traditional pathways (including bootcamps);
supporting effective business to provider interactions; and industry placements
(including T-Levels).
At the previous Council meeting, Catherine Richards mentioned the challenges
around flexible starts and the need for January starts on top of September starts.
This is being covered by the Task Force.
A number of sixth form and FE colleges have been in touch to promote opportunities
for industry placements. Colleges are finding it difficult to find businesses for
placements and businesses need more clarity around it all.
There have been a number of new capital projects that have opened with the
University of Suffolk DigiTech Centre at Adastral Park; Productivity East at UEA; the
DigiTech Factory at City College Norwich; and Suffolk New Colleges Tech Campus.
Short courses are being delivered locally to support with upskilling and reskilling, with
ICET short courses available for SMEs at the University of Suffolk and NUA is
developing three short courses around creative computing and UX design.
The decision on the Institute of Technology bid is still pending.
Still waiting to hear on local digital skills partnerships given we have always said that
we want one for this region.
The skills agenda feeds into Levelling Up and digital skills in the region are an
unresolved problem.
Mark Thomas suggested that advisers who could fill in forms for industrial placements on
behalf of companies would be extremely valuable. This would deliver against the needs of
both educational institutions and companies.
Neil Miles stated that access to talent is the number one challenge for businesses.
Julian Munson informed the Council that the LEP is engaging with policymakers on
innovation and levelling up given the comprehensive spending review statement around
funding being distributed mainly outside of London, the South East and East of England.
Connected Innovation Programme (Julian Munson & Tim Robinson):
Good progress has been made to date on the Connected Innovation Programme.
Scott Cogman was appointed as Innovation Hubs Coordinator.
The Peer Network group was launched with key innovation centres/hubs and there
are further opportunities for innovation centres, such as the Broadland Food
Innovation Centre, to come onboard.
Capability mapping has been completed across all of the innovation hubs in the
network and related to the Governments Innovation Strategy.
Events that we are running are related to the seven technology families identified in
the national Innovation Strategy.
Hub events will be delivered across the innovation hubs and clusters, with a
particularly interesting focus around cross-sector innovation.
An online portal will be launched with a centralised platform for events across the
innovation hubs. Case studies and promotional activity will be developed.
A tech suite is being installed at both Hethel Engineering Centre and OrbisEnergy.
A LinkedIn Network Group has been established to encourage a community.
Events on the horizon include Healthtech and space technologies.
Delivered by:
Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy (James Allen)
James Allen:
As mentioned previously, the Economic Strategy consolidates the existing strategies
and plans into one, further refining our ambitions and strengths, focusing actions and
interventions where the biggest gains and impact can be achieved. It is designed to
be agile so that we can react to the continually changing landscape being able to
adapt the actions and interventions as the circumstances change.
The Strategy sets out Norfolk and Suffolk's potential at a regional level providing a
framework for partners to develop plans specific to their geography, sector, or
institution. Much of the delivery will take place through these plans.
The Strategy will be accompanied by a much larger evidence report which sets out
the evidence and the assets. We will also be publishing an interactive data platform
which will have some of this evidence. The platform will be agile and kept up to date
so that partners can interrogate up to date evidence down to district level where it is
We have held 110 engagement sessions including 1-2-1’s, workshops and meetings
with over 600 people have engaged and provide input to the plan.
Many thanks for your feedback which came in ahead of last Friday’s deadline. We
are reviewing this feedback now but plan to have the final draft ready to go to design
2nd week of December ahead of it going to public sector leaders in January for
endorsement and the LEP Board on 26th January for sign off.
Roundtable Updates: