Posts byChris Dymond

SCR Hard-to-Fill Vacancies Survey

A new region-wide survey aims to understand where skills gaps are and why employers find some positions hard to fill.

Sheffield-based recruitment firm, Benchmark, has been commissioned by the Sheffield City Region to conduct research looking specifically at skills gaps and hard-to-fill vacancies in the region. Part of this research is a survey asking employers’ opinion and it would be great to get as many digital and tech employers into the report as possible. The
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Sheffield’s Digital Snapshot Report

Our (honest, if slightly biased) take on the excellent Digital Snapshot report covering Sheffield's creative digital sector.

As many in the local tech scene will know, the Digital Snapshot Report was launched earlier this month at a lovely event at DINA on Cambridge Street. This is the fourth in a series of reports commissioned by Prof Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield. They are designed to
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Introducing MakerHub

Laura Bennett provides an update on MakerHub CIC's pivot and plans for the future.

We’ve got a good thing going on in Sheffield I’ve written before about the entrepreneur ecosystem here: about how friendly everyone is and how introductions are readily made. My friend Elizabeth Shassere echoes this, writing about her first forays into entrepreneurship in this city. I was commissioned in January to write a report on the
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Tidings from The Platform: Hackspaces, Makerspaces & FabLabs

We curated the March edition of The Platform and invited people who run local makerspaces to come along and tell us about them...

The Platform is a series of regular events hosted by the Showroom/Workstation for people in the creative industries to present and talk about their work. They usually take place on the last Thursday of the month, and for the March event Sheffield Digital were asked to curate the programme (we’ve done this several times before
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Report from Digital Policy Conflab #2 – Spatio-sectoral Planning

Info on all the new incubators and related initiatives from the February Conflab event.

On Tuesday the 28th February, we conducted the second in our series of Digital Policy ‘Conflabs’. The purpose of these conflabs is to bring people together to explore and discuss issues of relevance to the digital tech community in Sheffield, and to provide a forum for the community to openly engage with policy-makers, organisations and
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Briefing Paper from Digital Policy Conflab #2 – Spatio-sectoral Planning

Here's the briefing paper I wrote on the Sheffield tech incubator ecosystem for our Digital Policy Conflab #2. Notes on the session itself will follow...

Background In the March 2015 Budget, the UK Treasury pledged £11m in capital funding to create three digital technology hubs in the North in order to stimulate economic activity as part of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. This funding was divided between Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, with Sheffield’s initiative given the moniker ‘MakerHub’ in order to connect
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Sheffield City Region ‘Vision’ Report Launch

During 2016 several local ‘anchor institutions’ worked together to articulate a vision for the region’s future, and how to get there...

You may recall, (if you are a *really* avid reader of our blog!), that roughly a year ago we reported on an initiative that was being led by the two Sheffield universities, the Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust together with the region’s LEP and local authorities to “generate a refreshed and compelling long-term vision for
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Superfast South Yorkshire’s Connectivity and Innovation Vouchers Scheme

Earlier this month SFSY launched two new voucher schemes to help local firms access high speed broadband, and make transformational use of it.

Firstly a quick refresher for those who don’t know what Superfast South Yorkshire does: Superfast South Yorkshire (SFSY) is jointly funded by funded by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK – a central government organisation), BT and the 4 South Yorkshire partner Local Authorities (Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster & Rotherham). It’s mission is really two-fold: Provide fibre connectivity
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The 2017 State of Sheffield Report

Last week saw the launch of this year’s State of Sheffield report - here are some of the interesting bits...

Every year since 2012 the Sheffield City Partnership Board has commissioned a report to take a clear-eyed, warts and all look at the city, its challenges and opportunities and how it compares to other places. Each year the focus is slightly different, and over time the reports provide an increasingly expansive view of Sheffield and
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A follow-up from our open letter on Public Wifi

Last month we published an open letter from the tech community about Sheffield's Public WiFi initiative - here's the follow up.

Here’s a quick update on the response from our open letter regarding city centre WiFi. As I’ve previously mentioned on Slack, the response to our letter from the council has been very positive and open. As well as email responses from councillor Bramall and Ed Highfield, I had a follow up conversation with David Oliver,
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Sheffield startup AMT leads on advanced 3D Printing tech

Additive Manufacturing Technologies is leading a £625K consortium for advanced 3d printing post-processing

Additive Manufacturing Technologies Ltd were founded in 2015 by Joseph Crabtree, and are the world’s first company focused on developing digital tech solutions for post-processing 3D Printed parts. They have just been awarded £625k by Innovate UK and consortium members including UK inkjet manufacturer Xaar plc, based in Cambridge, and Atomjet Ltd, to develop a next-generation
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Digital Policy Conflab #2 – “Spatio-sectoral planning”

We're hosting a public round-table discussion, in conjunction with Creative Sheffield, to find out more about the proposed digital hubs in Sheffield

I know. “Spatio-what??” Let me explain: For the second Sheffield Digital Policy Conflab, we’re working with Creative Sheffield to host a public round-table debate on the topic of what digital technology areas, or ‘clusters’, the city is looking to support (the sectoral bit), and where are the best places for that support to be located (the
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An open letter regarding the city centre WiFi initiative

Here's the letter we sent to Sheffield City Council regarding the provision of Public WiFi in the city centre

Earlier this month, Sheffield City Council announced that it is seeking providers to offer public WiFi access to the city centre that will cover the city’s Sheffield Business Improvement District (BID). Public WiFi has long been a discussion point within the digital community, and regularly comes up in conversations at Geek Breakfast, The Platform events,
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Sheffield Library BIPC

A quick explanation of the services offered for startups by Sheffield Library’s Business and Intellectual Property Centre

The Library has been in the local news a fair bit recently, as the council investigates leasing the central library building to be converted into a hotel, and moving library services to a new bespoke building in the city centre. I’m not going to write about the relative merits of such a plan – certainly not
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Update from Policy Conflab #1

The first Digital Policy Conflab was held last month, here's a summary of what happened.

What was the purpose of the event? One of our three missions at Sheffield Digital is to represent the digital sector to policy-makers locally, regionally and nationally, in order to enlist their help in making the city a better place to start and grow digital tech businesses, to provide them with good information and advice,
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Sheffield Smart Lab ‘Demo Day’

The Sheffield Smart Lab has helped 9 projects build connections and run pilot programmes in the city over the last 12 months

Last Thursday, the 29th September, the Sheffield Smart Lab hosted a ‘Demo Day’ to showcase the winning solutions from Sheffield’s first Smart City technology accelerator. The Sheffield Smart Lab was set up in September 2015 as a partnership between Sheffield City Council, Amey and Ferrovial Services. It invited entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, both in Sheffield
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Sheffield Startups Make the Finals

Sheffield startups Tutora and Mobile Power go through to the finals of two premier UK startup competitions

Two major startup pitching competitions were held in our fair city earlier this month: The Sheffield round of Northern Stars on the 8th, and the first of three national Pitch@Palace tour events on Tuesday the 20th. In both competitions Sheffield-based technology startups won through to the next round. Northern Stars – Tutora Northern Stars is Tech North’s
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Announcing Digital Policy Conflab #1

We're hosting a digital policy debate on Monday 19th September

Following on from the outline policy framework I talked about back in July, we’re going to hold an open session to discuss digital policy on the 19th September between 4 and 6pm in the Creative Lounge at the Workstation. As I’ve said previously, we think it’s important that we have a strong idea of which
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Maker Assembly comes to Sheffield

Andrew Sleigh from Maker Assembly explains what to expect from the event later this month.

On Wednesday 31 August, we’re holding an event called Maker Assembly at Roco in Sheffield. It’s an opportunity for makers of all kinds to gather together and share their experiences, and reflect on their own experiences of making and also learn about other cultures, histories and approaches to making. What do we mean by “making”?
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Proposing a “Digital Policy Framework” for the Sheffield City Region

Last month Mel and I went to a workshop and came out with the beginnings of a policy agenda...

Last month Mel and I attended a workshop convened by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership that invited the participants – about 20 of us – to think about what a ‘digital strategy’ for the city region might look like. This is a big and complex topic for debate, and much of the session
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What might Brexit mean for our tech industry?

Getting an early handle on the implications of Brexit on the national and local tech sector...

Following the result of the referendum last Friday, I’ve started to compile a list of resources related to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union that will most likely impact our tech sector. Some of these are specific to our sector, and some apply generally to business and investment. Obviously, this is not a comprehensive
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The Digital Powerhouse Report 2016

The report looks at the innovation potential of the Northern tech clusters & makes 14 policy recommendations.

Last week Tech North released the Digital Powerhouse report, in conjunction with the RSA and Impact Hub. This report essentially lays out the credentials of the northern English technology clusters and makes the case for a number of recommendations to boost the tech industry in the North. As you’d expect, most of the data in
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The Shadbolt Review is out

Sir Nigel Shadbolt has led an independent review of computer science degree accreditation and graduate employability.

Last week saw the publication of the Shadbolt Review – an independent review commissioned by the UK Government, and led by Sir Nigel Shadbolt, to look at how computer science degrees are accredited and how the system can better support the skills requirements of employers. The full report is available at the UK Gov website.
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Thinking Digital Newcastle, 2016

Dan Sumption takes us through the intellectual smorgasbord that is the Thinking Digital conference.

Last year, I remember talking to Chris Dymond and Saul Cozens just after they returned from Thinking Digital conference in Newcastle/Gateshead. They raved about how good it was. So did others I’d seen mention it online. I decided to go the following year and, as the 2016 tickets were already on sale, I booked one
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Tales from the #VibrantSheffield Live Lab

Grant Thornton's recent Vibrant Sheffield event was exhilarating, but was it diverse enough to be a true watershed moment?

“I walked through hot coals last Friday”, he said. “It’s been pretty stressful then, helping to organise this?” “Four times.” I paused… “Wait, you actually walked through hot coals?” “Yup. Never thought I’d do something like that.” “Right. Blimey. So. How did you feel afterwards?” “Amazing. Like I could do anything!” I was in the
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Grant Thornton ‘Vibrant Economy’ Live Lab

Grant Thornton are running a 'Live Lab' as part of their Vibrant Economies programme on the 12th May at the Millennium Galleries.

Grant Thorton, the global professional services firm, have kicked off a major programme to stimulate ideas and actions that can create what they are calling a ‘vibrant economy’, which is one that better realises the shared potential of businesses, cities, people and communities across the UK. As part of this effort they are conducting a
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Tech Nation 2016 – Part 2

Part 2 of this series takes a look at the underlying data and methods used in the report.

In this post I’m going to look at how the 2016 Tech Nation Report has been compiled and how it’s tried to address some of the shortcomings in other reports that try to analyse the digital industry. This is the second of several posts I’m writing about the report, please see the first post in the
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Tech Nation 2016 – Part 1

Our initial look at the 2016 Tech Nation report - this part covers background, structure and headline figures.

This is going to be the first of several posts about the 2016 Tech Nation report – it’s a big complicated report that uses a lot of different data sources and statistical methods, and therefore requires careful analysis to determine what it means. To kick off I’m going to top and tail the report –
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R&D Tax Relief and Patent Boxing

A quick primer on some ways tech firms can save on their tax.

Research and Development Tax Credits and Patent Boxing are UK Government schemes, intended to encourage and reward firms that create new technological advances and value for the British economy. While a large proportion of more established companies avail themselves of one or both of these schemes, I suspect that many newer and smaller firms don’t
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Higher and Degree Apprenticeships @ SHU

Sheffield Hallam University are running an event for employers on the 25th February

On Thursday February 25th, from 1-4pm, Sheffield Hallam University are holding an event called “Higher and Degree Apprenticeships: Addressing the Skills Gap”. The purpose of the event is to introduce their plans for these apprenticeships to employers, including a focus on “digital technologies” so, as this is a pretty new concept in education, here’s a short overview
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Sheffield City Region Vision

We have an opportunity to put forward our views on a long term vision for how our region should develop, plus some thoughts on how we feed into policy in general.

The major institutions in Sheffield City Region – that’s Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire, Rotherham and Sheffield (in alpha order) – have recently come together to consider what they could do to “support the articulation and promotion of the long term strategic development” of the region. To start working this
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Get involved with Sheffield Code Clubs!

We have added local Code Clubs to our map - take a look and get involved in helping the next generation learn coding!

For those who don’t know, Code Club is a national network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged around 9-11. There are now over 3700 Code Clubs in the country and thousands of kids are benefiting from the programme. We have now added all the active Code Clubs within about a five mile
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Make It Digital – Round 2

Update on the Make It Digital programme and call for employers to get involved in the second running.

As I outlined in a post last year, Capita Talent Partnerships are delivering the BBC’s Make It Digital traineeship programme in Sheffield and Rotherham. The initiative is designed to provide basic workplace-ready digital skills to young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who aren’t already in employment or education, and get them inspired
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Tech for Troops

Sheffield Hallam student Eliza Austin explains the story behind her Tech for Troops event in March, and asks the local cyber security community for help.

×This is a guest post from Eliza Austin, who’s an undergraduate studying computer security with forensics at Sheffield Hallam University. I’ve always had a mental bucket list in the back of my mind, things I wanted to do, my little stamp on the world that I’d concentrate on, one day, when I had money to
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Devolution – what does it mean for the tech sector?

A huge topic condensed into a 1500 word essay following the explanatory Devolution event last week.

Last week I attended an event at the Electric Works called “Devolution – the future for Sheffield”, which was a series of talks and roundtable discussion, hosted by Sheffield First Partnership. The event was convened to: “…offer an opportunity to hear more about the case for devolution to places, learn more about the detail of
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Unboxing the latest KPMG Tech Monitor UK report

A quick look at the top and bottom of KPMG's latest effort to map the UK's tech sector

For the last three years, KPMG has been analysing the UK tech sector and publishing quarterly reports on their findings. They can all be read & downloaded from their website. The latest report (Q3 2015) was released today, and this one also contains a special feature that looks at the data geographically to determine the UK’s largest and
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Sheffield Digital at SheffEX – The Future of Business in Sheffield

I spoke about Sheffield's Digital Economy at Sheffex, here's what I said.

On Monday morning I gave a short talk at the SheffEX tradeshow, as part of a conference session called “The Future of Business in Sheffield”. Also speaking at the session were former Sports Minister, and now strategic advisor to the Nuclear AMRC, Richard Cayborn, Richard Wright, the executive director of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Richard
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Sheffield Digital Q&A…

Answers to some questions I get asked a lot and an update as to where we are.

As Sheffield Digital is becoming more widely known, I’m getting a lot of questions from people who want to know what it’s all about, so I thought I’d jot them down here. Of course, you can find out more by reading what’s posted on the website, but things are changing so rapidly I thought it was worth
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The BBC’s Make It Digital traineeship programme comes to Sheffield and Rotherham

Local firms are invited to take on work experience trainees from the Make It Digital programme in November.

The BBC have teamed up with Capita Talent Partnerships to deliver the Make It Digital programme in Sheffield and Rotherham. We have received details about the initiative from Chris Johnson, the Employer Engagement Officer at Capita TP, which we’d like to share with the community. The Make It Digital traineeship programme is a course for young
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Announcing: The SheffieldDigital Slack Team!

You can now connect with others in the local digital community at sheffielddigital.slack.com

Dear everyone, We’re setting up a Slack team for the Sheffield digital community, in order to provide a place where the whole community can share info and organise ourselves. (If you’re not aware of Slack, it’s a team messaging and communications service that is designed for development teams, but works really well as community resource as
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