Guest Blog: Why Bristol Technology Festival has the potential to become ‘the Glastonbury of tech festivals’

On Monday night, 4th November, Deloitte had the pleasure of sponsoring the welcome evening to celebrate the opening of Bristol’s first Technology Festival.

The Engine Shed was a fantastic venue to host that event. It reminds me of Brunel, and Bristol’s great engineering heritage and pioneering tradition. We certainly have a lot to live up to!

As a bit of a festivalgoer myself – something of a ‘rejuvenile’, I was delighted to attend that inaugural event, and be involved at the start of something which I’m sure is going to be a huge success for many years to come.

Bristol Technology Festival has the potential to become the Glastonbury of tech festivals, although I hope the tickets are a bit easier to get hold of!

Bristol is a vibrant hub for the science, creative and technology sectors. The city is a home for world class talent, entrepreneurs, and technology businesses, from early stage start-ups and innovators to globally recognised brands.

And Bristol has a fantastic, unique infrastructure!

This supports the tech sector with world class universities, a collaborative and supportive ecosystem, and facilities such as Engine Shed to inspire the next generation as well as nurture early stage companies – and with SETsquared Bristol, the University of Bristol’s business incubator and enterprise partnership with Bath, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey universities.

More widely, it makes Bristol a prominent centre for innovation, shaping, promoting and nurturing growth across all sectors. This is vital for bringing to life the local industrial strategy and for continuing to create and sustain world class organisations and businesses across a broad range of sectors.

This diversity of creativity and innovation also protects the region with robustness and resilience to manage economic cycles.

Whether it’s professional services, financial technology, law technology, high technology manufacturing or clean energy, the technology sector has a vital role to play in enabling innovation and inclusive growth.

And, it is crucial that we all ensure these exciting opportunities open doors for everyone!

We all have to work to build a diverse and inclusive talent pool that benefits citizens, public bodies, and businesses alike.  A diverse and inclusive workforce invariably creates better solutions to today’s challenges, and better outcomes for all.

And we all have a role and a responsibility to make this happen, to close the gap between those people who have the skills to equip themselves for the future and those who do not. We do it by ensuring that there are training and reskilling opportunities open to people from all backgrounds, creating a ‘digital pathway’ for everyone.

In Bristol as the Deloitte team goes about expanding capability within our new tech hub, we ran a Dev Academy, partnering with a local organisation and focussed on retraining people from diverse backgrounds to become software engineers. I’m really pleased that our academy hires are now out working with our clients.

Then there are the benefits that technology brings to the lives of people and communities. It’s not just about participating in the tech sector, it’s about improving lives by ensuring that everyone has the skills to interact with and benefit from emerging digital services.  This is as important to nurses, hospitality workers and construction workers as it is for our coders and data scientists.

I am proud to be involved in developing our technology presence in this great city, bringing scale and local creative engineering capability to our clients, creating new jobs in the city, introducing training and reskilling opportunities, and building a truly diverse and inclusive workforce in the region.

The prospects for Bristol’s technology sector are vast, from investing in our own technology business, supporting others in the tech sector, or bringing technical innovations to businesses in all sectors.