Amazing Accrington hosts cyber-themed education summit

Accrington Stanley 1968 Lounge, at the Wham Stadium hosted the third Hyndburn Education Summit.

Headteachers and careers leads came together with business leaders to hear about engagement with employers in the borough, and the fantastic opportunities the rapidly growing field of Digital and Cyber is bringing to our region.

Guest speaker at the event was a representative of the National Cyber Force (NCF), a partnership between Defence  MOD and Intelligence GCHQ, which will have its new headquarters in Salmesbury from 2024.

The move is part of the creation of a ‘cyber corridor’ from Manchester to Lancaster, with Samlesbury at its centre, and will bring significant numbers of skilled cyber jobs to the area. The NCF’s arrival will help to grow technology, digital and defence sectors, as well as encouraging partnerships between government, industry and universities in the region.  

The Lancashire area stands out for the quality of universities, Further Education colleges and schools, as well as its ethnic diversity - which is key to having the right mix of minds to represent the UK which is key to recruiting the right mix of minds to join this exciting new partnership. 

The packed schedule, at the stunning £2.5m new hospitality function at the Wham Stadium, saw speakers including:

  • Murray Dawson, chair of #AmazingAccrington Business Leaders Group and managing director of Scott Dawson Advertising – expanding on the Ambassador programme and inspirational visits into schools
  • Ben Clements, managing director, Emerson & Renwick, speaking about the evolution of engineering and creating new IP
  • Gareth Lindsay, managing director, NLTG, explaining that anyone who wishes to improve their digital skills can be helped
  • Morag Davies, centre principal for Accrington & Rossendale College, on their £4m investment into training facilities for electric car maintenance, amongst other digital provision
  • Heath Groves, CEO, Sundown Solutions, who is a major employer in the tech field in Hyndburn and has visited many schools to inspire pupils to take this career path
  • Collette King, HR director, Studio Retail, about bringing opportunities to the local area as Hyndburn’s largest employer
  • Sara Britcliffe, MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden, underlining the Government’s pledges on levelling up and education 

Murray Dawson, chair of #AmazingAccrington commented: “We’re very pleased with the success of our Ambassador programme taking businesses into schools, and wish to expand on the number of Ambassadors we have, up to 30. We will also re run our Futures event in October, which was a great success in 2021.”

Ben Clements, managing director, Emerson & Renwick, said: “We’ve added to our traditional skills in engineering. We’re creating processes that have never been done before, and when working in a competitive global market, cyber security becomes critical.”

Gareth Lindsay, managing director, North Lancs Training Group, added, “We are always looking for ways to provide relevant training for everyone we come across, and we currently have 355 open vacancies including digital roles.”

Morag Davis, centre principal for Accrington & Rossendale College, commented, “Every job is a digital job now. We’re pleased to announce we’ve recently been awarded OFSTED Outstanding across our whole group, and one of the things they commented on was that our courses are developed to support the local and regional economy.”

Collette King, HR director, Studio Retail, said: “Studio Retail becoming part of a larger group will bring wider opportunities for colleagues, and to the local area. There are some really strong retailers within the group.”

Heath Groves, CEO, Sundown Solutions, added: “Age is just a number – we have colleagues aged from 16 to 59, currently. We take people on to develop their skills and train them, and we now have a staff of 58.”

Sara Britcliffe, MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden, rounded up with: “Education is key to levelling up, and giving people the skills they need for the future. We all work together to bring a bright future for Accrington and the surrounding area.”

You can see more on opportunities for young people on the purpose built area of the #AmazingAccrington website here: opportunities.amazingaccrington.co.uk

Picture captions:

Top. Left to right - Collette King of Studio Retail, and Heath Groves of Sundown Solutions speaking at the Amazing Accrington Education Summit

Middle: Left to right - Heath Groves, Collette King, Gareth Lindsay, Morag Davis, Sara Britcliffe MP and Ben Clements at the Amazing Accrington Education Summit

Bottom: Left to right - Collette King, Heath Groves, Morag Davis, Gareth Lindsay, Ben Clements and Sara Britcliffe MP speaking at the Amazing Accrington Education Summit