Looking back on Dynamo in 2015 1

2Dynamo Chairman's Dinner015 was certainly an eventful year for Dynamo! On our social calendar we had lots of #DynamoNet events, the Dynamites awards, the Dynamo 15 Conference and other events such as involvement in #NEDigitalGirls and our Chair’s Dinner (see image). A lot of progress was made on our work streams; we gained new Vice Chairs (including a Vice Chairwoman!) and launched an Apprentice Hub in Sunderland!

Not only that, but we gained a lot of media coverage in 2015, several supplements in the Journal as well as engaging Tech UK, TechNorth, TechCity, the Entrepreneurs Forum, the NECC, the CBI and Tees Valley Unlimited and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. Here are some of the highlights, looking back on Dynamo in 2015.

Apprentice Hub

Dynamo opened the UK’s first IT Apprentice Hub in Sunderland back in February 2015 with another opened later in Newcastle. The aim of the hub is to help provide the region with skilled new talent to enter the technology sector in future. The sector currently employs over 32,000 people, however, it also has 2,000 vacancies, which need skilled individuals to fill them. The Apprentice Hub is run in partnership with Baltic Training and was officially launched in April. Click here to read more on the story.

University Technical College given the green light!

Thanks to the hard work of our former Vice Chairman Bob Paton (now Bob Paton CBE) and others, the North East was granted permission to host a university technical college (UTC) that will specialise in information technology and healthcare sciences and offer education to 14-18 year olds.

This is to help provide the tech and IT sectors in the region with adequately skilled workforce in future. The UTC, which is due to open in September 2017, is sponsored by Accenture, Sage and HP as well as being supported by Dynamo. The announcement was made by George Osborne.

Membership scheme launched

Dynamo MemberAs a social enterprise, part of the vision in our business model has been to create a membership scheme for members to join us as we seek to achieve the common aim of growing the North East IT economy. In 2015, the vision finally came into being, and we began giving firms and organisations the opportunity to join us, as we provide them with the platform to build new partnerships, meet key regional players, win new business and more. To date, we already have over 100 members! For more information on our membership scheme, take a look at our membership pages and sign up here.

With a board of advisors and directors from firms and organisations including HP, Sage, SAP, Orchard, Opencast, BT, Ubisoft, University of Sunderland, Northumbria University, Newcastle University, Durham City Council and more, Dynamo offers an excellent platform for members to network and collaborate with key local actors.

Dynamo ’15 and Dynamites awards

This year’s Dynamo ‘15 conference was held at the University of Sunderland with speakers including Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, Stuart Lynn (CTO & CIO at Sage), Neil Hemming (Global Managing Partner at SAP) and Giselle Stewart (now OBE, Director of Corporate Affairs UK at Ubisoft). During the conference, Dynamo Chairman Charlie Hoult announced a vision for a £95million Northern Institute for Technology and Business Exchange (NIT) to clinch the North East’s position as a leading region for tech.

Dynamites ’15, the second ever Dynamites award was bigger and better than the last edition with over 300 guests in attendance, 9 categories and 116 winners and commendees. The awards sought to shine a spotlight on the talent and expansion of the region’s technology and IT sector.

Back to school

Dynamo spent quite a lot of time in schools and colleges in 2015, bringing the world of IT careers to the youth of the region, with the help of the Esh Group for example, bringing IT teachers, maker clubs and City Learning Centres together to talk skills with Gateshead College. We certainly hope to do more of this in 2016.

Streamlining our work streams

Dynamo works on the basis of key work streams identified by ourselves and our members and in 2015, we worked on refining and strengthening our position on these work streams. We’ll have an update in a blog post very shortly, so please stay tuned – we welcome your involvement!

New Board members

We also appointed three new Vice Chairs in 2015: Giselle Stewart; Neil Hemming; and, Stuart Lynn, all of whom are leading figures from the region’s tech firms. With his appointment as Interim Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Bob Paton stepped down from his position as Dynamo’s Vice Chair: we hope to have an update for you soon on Bob’s future involvement with Dynamo.

Working with you to make a difference locally

Besides all this, Dynamo saw a local firm being enrolled to help HMRC deliver its Government Digital Service in Longbenton with its help, local firms helping Newcastle University’s Cloud Innovation Centre win the business case for funding.

There’s also a lot of ‘brokerage’ activity which goes on behind the scenes – we’ve got a pretty good idea of what the “dots” are (i.e. defining the North East IT economy) and we’re working hard to join them.

By no means least – we’re massively grateful to our all Members – please join them (and us) by becoming a Member!