Posts byClaire Fletcher

Responding to the pandemic through innovation and creativity

The tech sector was quick to respond to the impact of COVID-19. Here are just a few of the innovations born out of the pandemic in Sheffield City Region.

From developing wearable tech to help people stay socially distanced in the workplace, to moving an entire market online so that struggling traders can sell their produce again – the digital industries have shown exceptional levels of creativity and innovation in the face of COVID-19. In this post, we look at a range of the

Career Change: sideways moves and squiggly careers in the tech sector

Shared experiences and advice from people who have made one or more moves to different roles in the tech sector.

What are sideways or squiggly career moves? First things first, let’s bust some jargon. A sideways (or lateral) career move is generally considered to be “similar in responsibility and pay to the one you already have” (according to Indeed), and this can include moves within your existing company, or to a different place. The term

Help make cyber skilled kids the next tech superstars

This national programme helps to prevent young people from committing cyber crime, directing them towards a career in tech, instead.

The Cyber Choices network was created to help young people make informed choices and to use their cyber skills in a legal way. Its work is delivered under two main strands, the first being to raise awareness of the Computer Misuse Act by delivering talks and presentations in schools and community settings. This helps to

ASK4 Data Centre makes the move to renewable energy

The internet service provider’s data centre in Sheffield is now powered entirely by wind, hydro and solar energy.

ASK4’S owned and operated Tier 2 Data Centre has made the switch to 100% renewable energy, sourced from wind, hydro and solar power. The 3-year partnership with Bryt Energy will allow the Data Centre to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, eliminating an estimated 399 tonnes* of CO2 emissions in the first year. Data Centres consume

Company spotlight: Roaring Mouse Public Relations

James Taylor tells us more about the tech start-up specialists that are right on the doorstep.

From an office in Chesterfield and with a core team of three, Roaring Mouse is helping early-stage technology companies to grow their reputation and their business, throughout the UK and globally. Building awareness, interest and trust in brands, the specialist agency has helped a range of exciting FinTech, CleanTech, AI and cyber security start-ups to

Sumo Digital pioneers new route into games industry

‘Sumo Academy’ is designed to expand the talent pool needed to meet the demands of the UK’s growing games industry.

Sumo Academy was launched in September, when the first four graduates started their training as programmers. The trainees have degrees in Fashion, Physics, History and Philosophy. These are unusual backgrounds for game development, however, the principal goal of this course is that upon completion its candidates will be qualified to join one of Sumo’s game

Can we build a climate-positive tech industry in Sheffield?

‘Climathon’ in November will explore how we can turn e-waste into practical tools for people who need them.

It is estimated that in Britain each year we throw away a million tonnes of e-waste and that it equates to 70% of overall toxic waste in landfill. It is also estimated that more than a third of parents with children aged between five and 16 do not have access to a laptop or computer.

Career change: moving into the digital industries

In a new series of posts, we are sharing information and insight to help people who are considering a career change.

From an NHS Sonographer who wants to teach themselves to code, to a trainee architect who is considering a move to UX design – we’ve recently heard from several people asking our community for advice as they make their way into the tech industries. For this post, we’ve gathered information and insight from a range

Google updates – how welcome are they?

Hydra Creative explores the latest changes that Google has made, and how they may affect your business.

Hearing that Google has announced a new update can be both exciting and worrying as we work out what it involves and what it will mean for us and our clients. This article isn’t about the latest algorithm changes; instead I’m looking at other popular and commonly-used tools that Google has recently updated. Google My

Need help on your next XR project?

Connect with one of six talented interns on a new part-funded scheme for SMEs from the University of Sheffield and XR Stories.

XR Stories is a Northern Powerhouse and European Regional Development Fund initiative. It is designed to support and expand the potential of immersive and interactive technologies for storytelling in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Working with The University of Sheffield, XR Stories is supporting these new internships to create a strong pipeline of talent in

Investment boost for Nimble Approach

The product and tech consultancy is rolling out an ambitious five year strategy with investment and support from tech-pro, Mike Bates.

Nimble is a Sheffield-based product and tech consultancy, specialising in delivering key digital projects at pace and enabling organisational change. Since starting out in 2017, the company has secured clients in the private and public sectors, including the Department for Education, Sky Betting and Gaming and Booking.com. As well as making a significant investment into

New IR35 rules: time to act

Important information about the new tax rules for people operating through a Personal Service Company, and businesses that use them.

From April 2021 HMRC is due to change the IR35 rules for individuals that contract through a Personal Service Company (PSC). A PSC is a limited company that provides the services of one contractor, who is usually the company’s only shareholder and sole director. The rule changes were originally due to come into force in April

Sheffield Digital is now part of the National Digital Skills Audit

Help us to get an accurate picture of the skills landscape in South Yorkshire’s tech sector.

We’re asking businesses, freelancers, individuals and students in South Yorkshire to complete a 10-minute survey to provide us with important information on our sector, the people working in it and the future skills demands that are emerging. We are also asking businesses to share insight about the challenges they are facing and the impacts of

Member spotlight: Hannah Hassack

Social media expert, Hannah talks networking, misconceptions and using social to develop profiles, opportunities and your next big career move.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a freelancer? Before I took the leap to freelancing, I worked across a mix of verticals, always in the same niche – social media marketing. I was lucky enough to gain experience agency-side, and then in-house in the entertainment, charity, professional services and healthcare

Notes from Sheffield Meta-Meetup #5

On Thursday 20 August we held the latest in our series of ‘the meetup for people who organise meetups’

It was always going to be a very different affair, running the event virtually, but given that all of us are now experts in bringing the real world online, it was fairly easy to adapt. Previous in-person Meta-Meetups would start with some nibbles and networking, so that was the first change. With it having been

Scale to new heights with Tech Nation growth programmes

Three programmes to help tech businesses grow are now open for applications.

On 15 September, Tech Nation opened applications for its three flagship growth programmes which offer stage-specific support for companies that are looking to scale. Described by Tech Nation as catering to: “ venture-backed and bootstrapped scaling startups and scaleups at Seed, Series A and Series B+ stages or equivalent”, the programmes offer bespoke support and

Sheffield Digital supports Kickstart job creation fund for SMEs

We are urging tech companies to get on board a funded scheme which will create jobs for young unemployed people.

What is the Kickstart scheme? The government recently announced the £2bn Kickstart scheme that is designed to create hundreds of thousands of six-month work placements for young people who are on Universal Credit and are considered at risk of long-term unemployment. The government will pay the national minimum wage for up to 25 hours per

An opportunity for emerging Tech for Good companies

Super Connect For Good is a national competition looking for the best emerging tech companies that are delivering positive social change.

The competition will recognise 15 winners including a National Overall Winner, eight Regional Winners and six Industry Winners from the following verticals: AI, EdTech, MedTech, HealthTech, Smart Cities (including IoT, 5G, Intelligent Transport) and GovTech. The National Winner will receive £40,000 worth of business support including a 12-month subscription to Hays Rise (worth £30,000), a

AR’ City showcases playful tech during Festival of the Mind

See how AR’ City is using tech and the ideas of young people to improve Sheffield, at an exhibition on The Moor in September.

Inspired by the concept of a playable city, AR’ City has developed playful tech to change the way we interact with our environment and explore the sense of belonging in a space. The theme of the project is ‘young people’ as the ideas for the playable tech were developed in workshops with young people, asking

Company Spotlight: Elements Technology

Elements Technology is a young and exciting award-winning company. We found out more about them from CEO, Dr Joe Handsaker.

Elements Technology is a software development company, creating products that are designed to be user-friendly, intuitive and where possible – using ‘everyday’ consumer devices and technologies, like smart phones. Elements Docket is the company’s first product and allows manufacturers to track and manage production at any time, wherever they are. Using NFC (Near Field Communication)

New fast track developer training to fill region’s skills gap

Junior developers can now fast track their progression to mid-level in one year with The Developer Academy.

Students on the Developer FastTrack course can progress from a junior to mid-level developer in 12 months, participating in live online training sessions on two days every month. The course – which starts on 24 September  – is structured in four core phases which cover planning, requirements and problem solving, version control, design patterns and

Sheffield Digital Festival goes Virtual and Augmented

Field & Sheffield Digital will host an outdoor festival, showcasing and celebrating what the city’s creative and tech communities have to offer.

We want to achieve two things: Build on the platform we created last year that allows people to organise their own events during the Festival week. Encourage people to explore and rediscover the city’s creative and digital industries through a digital medium. Our Festival will tie in with Sheffield’s ongoing “Make Yourself at Home” campaign

Changes to international data laws that all digital firms need to know

Dr Sam Chapman shares details of new laws relating to protected data sent to or from the US.

Firstly, I should be very clear that I’m not an expert in data protection or law, yet anyone who works with data does need an understanding to ensure compliance in data handling. This is not expert opinion so I would recommend much wider reading on the subject. I am sharing this post merely to help

TwinklHive announces £250k fund to help young tech entrepreneurs

The business accelerator has set up a scholarship programme for young people who want to start a digital business in South Yorkshire.

Young entrepreneurs applying for the scheme must have a clear, viable start-up business plan that will solve a pressing problem. Each successful applicant will receive a grant of up to £40,000. The scholarship is a full time position which is set to run for six months, with the possibility of follow-on investment from TwinklHive at

A new approach to agency working

Little Mesters is building a network of creative and digital freelancers in Sheffield.

‘Little Mester’ refers to a master crafter working on a specific part of a production process, and this is exactly what you can expect from the newest digital marketing agency to launch in Sheffield. Little Mesters brings together experienced freelancers from the creative and digital industries to work on its clients’ projects. Rather than having

Make a difference to people living with tinnitus

The British Tinnitus Association is looking for companies in Sheffield to support its digital transformation.

The BTA’s vision is to deliver a world where no one suffers from tinnitus. Until a cure is found though, they strive to help sufferers to manage the condition more effectively using the tools and information available. The charity does this by delivering high quality information and guidance through its national freephone helpline, a web-chat

UKTCG urges Government to prioritise grassroots expectations in Digital Strategy

The digital and tech industries can drive the UK’s economic recovery. What support do we need to make it happen?

In June 2020, the UKTCG hosted a Recovery Roadmap Summit which brought together hundreds of tech stakeholders, policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs in a one day virtual event. Attendees explored and developed ideas on how to both help the tech sector grow as part of the UK’s economic recovery, and to better understand how digital can

A safe return to coworking in Sheffield

How are the city’s coworking spaces making people feel safe and at home as they reopen?

Sheffield Technology Parks Sheffield Technology Parks was keen to safely reopen its coworking space – The Cooper Lounge – as soon as possible since closing in March. Chief Executive, Tom Wolfenden, comments: “Many of our coworkers live and work alone, and the lockdown restrictions had started to take their toll on productivity and mood.” Tom

Appt helps local business recovery with app-building platform

The digital agency hopes its new platform will help local businesses pivot to digital in light of COVID-19.

Making apps more accessible Flytt is a modular and customisable iOS and Android app with an easy to use online content management system. It has been created to make app development more accessible to one-man bands, SMEs and large corporations. Anna Bollinger, founder and managing director of Appt, says: “We have helped hundreds of clients

New campaign shows Sheffield is open for business

‘Make yourself at home’ is a new city-wide initiative to support the economic recovery of our businesses and communities.

Make yourself at home This campaign has both short and long term goals. Initially the focus is about promoting the ways that local businesses are safely reopening, encouraging residents to buy local and support the economic recovery. Longer term, it’s about building on stories of innovation and creativity and the strength of our communities, to

Our sector needs diversity – are your job adverts shutting people out?

We hear from the Sheffield Digital community how to attract more candidates to your company.

Why does it matter? Last year, we heard from Sally Bogg, Head of Live Services at NHS Digital, who is passionate about achieving greater inclusion and diversity in the tech sector. Speaking at our AGM, she shared some bleak statistics including that women only hold 20% of the UK’s tech roles, black, Asian and minority

Meet the meetup: Sheffield Collective

Find out more about the meetup for freelancers, sole traders and self employed folk in Sheffield.

What made you want to start the Sheffield Collective meetup? Well, I’d been working freelance for a few months and had a couple of brief thoughts about doing it previously, but it was ultimately the Coronavirus situation which inspired me to set it up. I had a really tough couple of weeks at the start

Member spotlight: Neil Hale

The digital marketing expert tells us about his work and why the lockdown has given him confidence in his recent decision to go freelance.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a freelancer? I moved to Sheffield in 2005 to study Business and Marketing at Sheffield Hallam University. As part of my degree, I completed a placement year with a local eCommerce retailer BuyBrandTools in a digital marketing role before returning to the company as

Twinkl team wins global SEO award

The education publisher’s in-house SEO team has been named best in the world at the Global Digital Excellence Awards.

The in-house team fought off tough competition to be named best in the world by an influential and respected international judging panel, including senior figures from Microsoft, Vodafone Group, Freesat and Arriva Group. The Global Digital Excellence Awards were held for the first time this year to recognise and celebrate exceptional digital campaigns, businesses and

UTC calls on businesses to boost students’ skills

Your help is needed to plug the region’s skills gap, by providing real-world insight and experience to talented young computing specialists.

Sheffield’s UTC Olympic Legacy Park is focussed on building a strong pipeline of talent across its specialisms of Health Science, Sports Science and Computing. The college is reaching out to employers in the digital community to work with them in shaping the future workforce and in return, gain access to some of the region’s most

Company spotlight: Nimble

Chris Roberts talks to us about making Agile practices stick, employee engagement and plans to expand.

In early 2016, Chris Roberts secured a project with the Home Office to head up its first Digital Hub outside of London. Having worked in Sheffield in a freelance capacity for two years, and prior to that at Technophobia, Chris had built up a solid network of product, tech and delivery specialists, who he brought

Tickets for Good extends free event access to frontline health workers

The online platform will give away thousands of tickets to NHS staff, volunteers and frontline social care workers.

With the COVID-19 crisis putting frontline health and social care workers under immense strain, Sheffield-based social enterprise Tickets for Good is saying thank you by offering free event tickets through its Ticket Bank platform. The Ticket Bank was launched just over a year ago and has provided thousands of people from low income and socially

Razor wins place on landmark AMRC framework

The digitisation specialists will help to inspire innovation in British manufacturing.

The digital framework forms part of the AMRC’s wider mission to become a champion for digital integration in the manufacturing environment. They plan to become a centre of excellence to inspire manufacturers throughout the UK to consider the benefits that digitisation can achieve. The overall objective of the AMRC strategy is to provide a robust,

Meet the Meetup: Sheffield Women in Tech

Find out why this successful meetup started, how it has developed and what’s in store for Sheffield’s Women in Tech.

Why did you start the ShfWiT meetup? Emma: Mel and I attended an “overly pink” women’s meetup that we felt didn’t empower or represent the women we saw in tech every day. We wanted something that spotlighted the positivity we could see, so Mel gathered an initial group of amazing Sheff women and we started

Barclays Entrepreneur Awards – enter now

Let’s recognise and celebrate the entrepreneurial talent in our region

Barclays Entrepreneur Awards – now in their fifth year – are designed to highlight and recognise entrepreneurs who are changing their industries, the economy and society in unique, original and positive ways. Winning an award will give you access to a community of business leaders, experts and other entrepreneurs and will help you to increase

Returning to work

Guidance for employers about the safe reopening of workplaces

The government has now published industry specific guidance on the safe reopening of workplaces, including office based environments. It has also outlined plans to have some businesses, such as shops and car showrooms, open as soon as 1 June. With the situation changing quickly, employers should be planning now not just how they will reopen

Pitch-in to support regional IoT innovation

The University of Sheffield is developing a LoRaWAN network and is inviting businesses to get involved.

What is Pitch-In? The Pitch-In project is a collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield, Newcastle, Oxford and Cambridge, funded through Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund. Working with industrial and commercial partners, the universities will show how they can deliver benefits by enhancing Internet of Things (IoT) innovation. In each region, the Pitch-In programme is creating

Razor gets creative with lockdown recruitment

The tech company has welcomed three new starters and has some useful advice about virtual recruitment and onboarding.

Razor – which specialises in AI and automation tools – has expanded its team during a time when all businesses are facing completely new and complex challenges. The first new recruit to be virtually welcomed was James Croft, who has joined Razor as a Software Lead. James is recognised as a ‘Microsoft Most Valuable Professional’

SHU launches funded internships

The university is giving local employers access to talented graduates to support their business this summer.

Why consider an intern? We know that every business owner has a lot on their plates at the moment and taking on an intern is probably low down on your list of priorities. However, the graduates of 2020 are the workforce of the future so it’s to everyone’s benefit that they get some hands-on experience

Running an online meetup on Zoom

Tips from the Sheffield Digital community

Not only this, but meet-up and event organisers are now faced with, well, faces. And not much else, just lots of faces looking back at them on a screen, without the usual dynamics, the natural hustle and bustle, small talk and human contact that you find at events. So what’s the secret to holding a

Twinkl offers help to city’s businesses

The EdTech publisher is helping local businesses to innovate and adapt in the Covid-19 crisis.

Twinkl is offering the free sessions to businesses in any sector that are struggling with issues such as blocks to cashflow or are faced with unexpected costly outlays. The Innovation Team has experience in supporting emerging EdTech companies to grow, to develop ideas and to launch disruptive, innovative products. They want to use this experience

Evoluted boosts team with new Head of SEO

The Sheffield agency has made two recent hires despite the ongoing Covid-19 crises.

Declan Reilly joins the digital agency – which is sponsor of the Sheffield DM meet-up – with eight years of SEO experience, having begun his career aged 17 as an apprentice. He is responsible for leading Evoluted’s organic search performance services and has already begun to share his knowledge, helping businesses understand how to approach

EdTech start-up launches safe social media space for kids

Sheffield based ‘Natterhub’ has launched early to keep children safe online during lockdown.

Natterhub is a learning platform and framework created for teachers to share with pupils. Co-founders Manjit Sareen and Caroline Allams have made alterations to make it ideal for home use, although teachers must set up the accounts which they can then share with parents, carers and pupils. Natterhub was due for launch in May 2020,

Coronavirus: Looking after employees’ mental health and wellbeing

The coronavirus outbreak is causing anxiety amongst many in the workforce, so how can leaders support and protect their teams?

Communication is key There is enough ambiguity in people’s lives right now; information vacuums from employers will only further fuel employees’ anxieties. Therefore, it’s vital that you decide company policy on matters such as sick pay, furloughing employees and annual leave, and that you are communicating your plans accordingly. Then, it’s important to keep open

Help fight Covid-19 at online Startup Weekend

Techstars is inviting you to stay home, collaborate and innovate to tackle the pandemic.

Techstars are looking for developers, designers, marketers, nurses, doctors, students, scientists, teachers and anyone with an idea to tackle the challenges created by the global pandemic. What’s it about? Techstars UK Online Startup Weekend is part of the Unite to Fight Covid-19 global series. Taking place across three days from 24-26 April, you’ll work on