The Work of Lancashire’s Digital Skills Partnership

Another great blog by Kerry Harrison, Lancashire’s very own Digital Skills co-ordinator:


One of the many benefits of being a Local Digital Skills Partnership trailblazer is being able to take advantage of the introductions from DCMS to national partners such as Lloyds, Google, Microsoft and Cisco. These introductions lead to excellent collaborative opportunities which we take full advantage of to further our strategic aims and objectives.

Our Local DSP sits within the Skills and Employment Hub of the Lancashire LEP and is structured around Lancashire’s Skills and Employment Strategic Framework that encompasses four areas of work: the future workforce, the inclusive workforce and the skilled and productive workforce, all underpinned by a fourth dimension – ‘an informed approach’…

Read the rest of Kerry’s blog here.

Danbro Foundation

Danbro celebrate 20 years with the launch of the Danbro Foundation

Danbro, specialist accountants based in Lytham, Lancashire are celebrating their 20th year in business with the launch of the Danbro Foundation. A not-for-profit organisation devoted to improving the prospects and livelihoods of those who are less fortunate both locally and internationally.

IT Manager, Terry Glenister, who joined the company in 2011, is one of the Foundation’s committee members. Discussing his excitement about the Foundation’s launch, he’s confident that the organisation can ‘genuinely better the lives of other people.’

“Danbro has afforded me many opportunities to develop, both personally and professionally. So, when the chance arose to be part of the Danbro Foundation, I applied without hesitation,” he said. “As a member of the Foundation, I am able to be part of a team that can genuinely help better the lives of other people.”

Alongside the launch, an ‘in conversation’ video series with Damian and Helen Broughton was shared last month.  It featured insights about growing a business in Lancashire, why they started the business, insight behind business growth and visions and growth plans for the future – all of which is supported and endorsed by additional video soundbites from Danbro Directors, employees and clients. You can watch the videos by visiting their Facebook page.


InnovateHer set to redress the balance in the tech industry

“InnovateHer is pledging its commitment to assist more than 55 schools and reach over 1,000 girls by 2020.” This is a bold statement and wouldn’t it be great to have this national programme delivered in Lancashire?

InnovateHer, a social enterprise founded in Liverpool has now launched in 26 schools across the North West in 2018, will work with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to deliver an eight-week after-school programme in the region.

The programme is designed to encourage greater equality and diversity in technical roles by giving girls aged 12-16 access to the skills, self-belief and confidence to pursue a career in technology.

The full story can be read on the Business Cloud website by clicking here. 

Speaking to Business Cloud, Jo Morfee, co-founder of InnovateHer says;

“The InnovateHer team are simultaneously working with digital and tech companies through a membership and consultancy offer, to create more inclusive workplaces for the next generation to work within. It’s critical that young people are given the opportunity to learn key digital skills from an early age, as the majority of roles now require digital skills. We also have a gender gap in the industry – just 20 percent of tech roles in the North West are taken by women. That’s why we’re on a mission to change the narrative, because we believe that everyone, regardless of background or identity, should be given the opportunity to follow the path that they choose.

related story

InnovateHer is currently seeking industry mentors to help lead the programme, and business partners to help with delivery. Further details can be found by clicking here. 


Kerry Harrison Digital Skills Coordinator

Introducing the Digital Skills Partnership’s Regional Coordinator: Kerry Harrison

Local Digital Skills Partnerships (Local DSPs) bring together businesses, charities, and public sector organisations to tackle local digital skills challenges. Supported by the DSP, these partnerships are working to build thriving and inclusive local economies.
The Local Digital Skills Partnership in Lancashire was launched in Lancashire on 18 April last year and Kerry is now 3 months into her role.
“I see my role as bringing together the right partners to take forward the vision and local priorities for improving digital skills within Lancashire, capitalising on the opportunities developed by the national-level Digital Skills Partnership and introductions from DCMS.
So much good work already happens in Lancashire and the Local DSP helps to bring partners together to fill gaps. It’s my job to share knowledge and opportunities, and join the dots between existing good practice and those in need of support and development. Growing the number of people, businesses and providers in our partnership will continue to strengthen the work that takes place now.”
It’s great to have you on board Kerry!

T-Level Discussion Day : Further Education Providers and Local Employers

On Wednesday 24th January we held a T-Level Education Discussion event with Lancaster & Morecambe College. Organised in partnership with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) there were further education providers and local employers gathered in one room to discuss T-Levels.

T Levels are new, two-year, technical study programmes, designed with employers to give young people the skills that industry needs. They will provide a mixture of;

  • technical knowledge and skills specific to their chosen industry or occupation
  • an industry placement of at least 45 days in their chosen industry or occupation
  • relevant maths, English and digital skills.

T Levels will become one of three major options when a student reaches level 3, alongside apprenticeships for students who wish to study and train for a specific occupation ‘on the job’, and A levels for students who wish to continue academic education.

These were just some of the questions we hoped to answer on the day

  • What’s going on that is new in the industry?
  • What hasn’t changed?
  • What skills, knowledge and behaviours would students need to be employable in this workplace?
  • What career opportunities to progress are there in this workplace?
  • What role might a T level student realistically aspire to achieve?
  • What barriers might there be to students progressing from their course to the digital workplace?
  • What can be taken back to inform teaching and benefit students?
  • What could you share with students that will help them make better informed careers decisions?
  • Are there any myths that need busting?

Over the course of the morning, the room listened to 3 guest speakers which all touched on those questions above. After a coffee break, we engaged in a panel discussion with questions from the floor before enjoying a delicious lunch made by students in Coulson’s Restaurant.

Thanks to our speakers and panel members;

Whilst initial feedback suggests the event was successful in getting educators and employers in the same room, it’s important we provide a way for them to continue communicating effectively.

One attendee suggested at a next event there is an input from educators so that “employers can see exactly what the awarding bodies build into the qualifications and gain an understanding of the time and financial constraints on FE. This would then potentially support bridging the gaps in terms of what can be added to ensure learners leaving FE are prepared for the workplace.”

To be kept up to date with news and events from Digital Lancashire, please drop us an email and we’ll add you to the list.

Lancashire Forum Creative – 2 Day ‘Think Differently Tank’ – FREE to attend!

Following the success of UCLan’s first ever Think Differently Tank / Technology Hack, the UCLan team would like to invite you to the next one which will take place on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 October 2018.

Light breakfast will be served from 9.00 and lunch will be around 12.00. The sessions will run from 10.00 – 17.00…

We ran our first Tech Hack in July as a unique collaboration between the Lancashire Forum Creative and our colleagues in UCLan’s Media Innovation Studio. This second iteration promises to be just as fascinating, though-provoking and rewarding. It is a workshop unlike any other, incorporating future-thinking, creative problem-solving, idea and product-generation and innovative interactions between those delivering the programme and those on the programme. This event obviously takes a different approach and format to our usual half-day sessions.

To give you an idea of what a Think Differently Tank involves, please have a look at our video report of the first event.

18 October – Day 1

Inspire / Imagine / Intrigue / Infuse

Day one, sets the tone and the context for the TDT in a structured conference approach, where you will hear from researchers, designers, technologists and industry experts to explore various approaches to process, methodology, creativity, research and innovation that will insight, inspire, and intrigue, to transfer new ways of thinking into your own business/practice. We want you to interact with the team and presenters so we’ll be having presentations, question and answers followed by short exercises- where each presenter will set a task and provide resources and materials to assist in the exercise.

19 October – Day 2

Ideate / Innovate / Interact / Insight

Day two is over to you! We will follow an unconference approach, the structure will be determined from current themes we as a society face. We will dig deeper into the types of talks from the previous day, with a design thinking process, where you will begin to ideate possible solutions to these problems. You will work in teams and mentored by our experts where you will hack ideas and present back to the wider group. We have all types of materials from cardboard to computers to recyclables to Raspberry Pi’s to thinking differently to feeling differently. You will have the experience to make, create, design and discuss ideas with mentors. This session will provide an opportunity to engage, inspire, interact and upskill.’

It’s all about the process of achieving the goal and the discussions you have along the way!

Experience the journey.

Learn more and book your FREE place via Eventbrite.

Digital Manufacturing Week in Liverpool 13-16 November

Digital Manufacturing Week is taking place in Liverpool from the 13th to the 16th of November –

As part the Smart Factory Expo element there will be the opportunity for companies to pitch to 16 VC Investors who have been specially invited to the event. This is open to companies right across the NW (indeed across the UK). The link to register is

The deadline for registration is a week Monday (8 Oct) so companies will need to think about it and register quickly.  The application deadline  is then one week later (15 Oct) and doesn’t require too much work as long as they have some sort of pitch deck that they have used before.

This is a tremendous opportunity for companies seeking investment working in –

  • High Value Manufacturing
  • Advanced Materials
  • Robotics and Autonomous Systems
  • Transport and Mobility
  • Enabling and Cross Cutting Technologies (IoT, sensors, big data, modelling and simulation)

Lancashire creative agency launches local online gift voucher site Vouch

Lancaster-based award winning creative agency Hotfoot Design are set to launch Vouch this weekend, its new online gift voucher website that will allow local people to buy gift vouchers from brilliant independent businesses in the region.

The new online gift voucher website will be launched in the agency’s hometown of Lancaster at the North Lancashire Business Expo 2018, which is being held on Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th September 2018 at Lancaster Brewery.

Vouch will offer people across the region the opportunity to buy gift vouchers from local independent businesses for a range of experiences, from spa days to nights away, fine dining and brewery tours, all from one easy to use website.

Gift vouchers for Lancashire businesses, including DF Studio, the Sun Hotel & Bar, Arteria, Lancaster Brewery, Sue Shields Spa, and artisan wine provider Provino, as well as from companies in nearby counties, such as Cumbria-based Heart of the Lakes holiday cottages, will be available to purchase from the site.

Aidan Watt, technical director at Hotfoot Design, said: “We believe in supporting independent businesses that deserve to thrive. Vouch makes it easy to discover original gift voucher experiences for friends and loved ones, whilst supporting businesses in the local area. The website will be a great showcase for all the fantastic experiences we have to offer here in Lancashire and the North West. Vouch for where you live and gift local!”

The arrival of Vouch follows the successful launch of Regalo, a gift voucher platform for hospitality, luxury retail and experience businesses, by Hotfoot Design two years ago. Gift vouchers are a profitable market, with over £5.6 billion generated in gift voucher sales in the UK each year, and the revenue stream has also been shown to increase loyalty, footfall and sales.

Guy Cookson, marketing director at Hotfoot Design, commented: “The launch of Regalo two years ago was a reaction to the fact that gift vouchers are continuing to be a growing source of revenue for businesses. Vouch was the next obvious step for us. With so many fantastic businesses signing up to Regalo, particularly across Lancashire and the North West, it made sense to offer local people, and those who love visiting our wonderful region, a place where they could access gifts and experiences all in one easy to use location.”

Hotfoot will be at the North Lancashire Business Expo at Lancaster Brewery on Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th September, where businesses can discover more about Vouch and how their business can be featured.

For more information, visit Vouch.


Lancaster Uni duo win Dyson award

Two university students who have developed a ‘spinning’ turbine that can capture wind from any direction have won this year’s UK James Dyson Award.

Nicholas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani from Lancaster University have developed a method to generate electricity from wind generated by buildings in city centres.

The pair’s ‘O-Wind Turbine’ is designed to harness urban air as a source for renewable energy.

Orellana and Noorani will receive £2,000 for winning the national award to help kickstart their product development.

The international winner will be selected from hundreds of applications later this year.

Orellana, who first became interested in the challenge of multidirectional wind after studying NASA’s Mars Tumbleweed rover, says he hopes the O-Wind Turbine will improve the usability and affordability of turbines for people across the world.

He added: “Cities are windy places, but we are currently not harnessing this resource. Our belief is that making it easier to generate green energy, people will be encouraged to play a bigger role in conserving our planet.”

Sir Kenneth Grange, chair of judges, said he was “captivated” by the simplicity of the design.

“Whilst the project, is still at the beginning of a long and gruelling journey of iterations and frustrations, the James Dyson Award exists to reward young engineers with vision,” he added.

Via Business Cloud.

EKM launches Preston events space

Ecommerce website provider EKM has launched its own event space in Preston.

The site was originally built for in-house gatherings at the company’s £3.5m offices on Caxton Road. It has now launched its in-house, designer, training and presentation auditorium as a hireable facility, aimed primarily at government sector and other organisations with an interest in developing the local economy.

Founder Antony Chesworth said: “We built these facilities as a world-class productive environment for our world-class team, taking inspiration from the likes of Google and Facebook, because we want people to think of us in those terms.

“While we aim to compete with the best that Silicon Valley has to offer on a global stage, we’re fully invested in our people and our local economy.  That’s why we’ve decided to open up our event space for use by local organisations also invested in helping Lancashire to grow as a business region.”

Established in Burnley in 2002, EKM powers more than 70,000 online shops worldwide.

Via Insider Media.