Oldham Economy and Skills Partnership – A Digital Perspective

When our new mayor, Andy Burnham, held his digital summit back in July, I was thrilled to see my digital colleagues seizing the opportunity to outline how they felt our sector could work more effectively with policy makers.

Slowly, attitudes are adjusting, and we’re able to debate digital in a way we haven’t before. The cloud, big data, and the Internet of Things are suddenly no longer buzzwords, shoehorned awkwardly into business columns by bemused journalists, but serious concepts in their own right.

At MOSI last month, known to many young software developers as the home of Create Manchester, Mr. Burnham pledged £2M to help our city become “the UK’s leading digital city”.

Some fantastic projects are emerging in our community such as Create Oldham and Wayra’s Open Future_ North, and we’re poised on the verge of an exciting period for digital in our borough. How can we make the most of this?

Working alongside the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, I’ve always been keen to identify ways that industry and policymakers can work more effectively together. It’s absolutely key that local government engage in a meaningful way with the business community. To their credit, Oldham Council has convened the Oldham Economy and Skills Partnership (OESP) to improve engagement with businesses like ours. Business leaders from each industry will act as sector leads, ensuring the relevant issues are being put forward and the right questions are being asked.

As such, I’m pleased to have joined the OESP, along with my friend and Chamber colleague, Jo Taylor of Capita Translation & Interpreting, and Andy Powell of Create Oldham. We are determined to accurately represent your voice for the benefit of our digital community. We’re here to make sure all of our voices are heard.

Sector Framework Questions

To that end, we’ve prepared some key questions to ask digital Oldham businesses of all sizes and creeds. These questions are intended to give you and your staff a voice, and to tell the Economy and Skills Partnership exactly what their priorities should be, particularly as far as technology and digital are concerned.

Like Manchester, we need to ensure the people shaping policy in our local area are informed so that we can start to control our own destiny. There’s a great digital scene here in Oldham, bubbling just under the surface – it’s time we made ourselves heard.

Craig Dean

CEO, Web Applications UK

Chairman, Create Oldham