Daily Telegraph: It’s time to bridge the gender gap (19/7/17)

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According to statistics from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) less than 10 per cent of the UK’s engineering workforce is female, the lowest anywhere in Europe. Yet at the same time, we face a massive skills shortage across the sector.

So what is being done to make engineering an attractive career option for women? And once we have got women into the industry how do we support them to return to work if they leave to have children, take a career break or care for elderly relatives?

These were just some of the questions posed to a panel of expert speakers at a recent roundtable event hosted by The Daily Telegraph and supported by BAE Systems.

You can read my full report in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph by clicking on the link below.


Keep ahead of the curve. Daily Telegraph, motoring section (1/7/2017)

digital twin

Thanks to The Daily Telegraph for running my piece on creating a ‘digital twin’ and how manufacturers like Maserati are now using Siemens’ technology to reduce the need for prototypes and to optimise production.

Says Brian Holliday, Siemens Managing Director, Digital Factory: “The digital twin not only enables people to visualise programmes and work together at much lower cost, it means that car manufacturers can make greater progress in designing, simulating and verifying before conducting testing in the real world.”

We’ve come a long way in car production since Henry Ford said way back in 1909 ‘you can have any colour you want as long as it’s black.’

Daily Telegraph: Bring apprenticeships into focus

Daily Telegraph apprenticeships.JPGReally pleased with my page in The Telegraph‘s Business Section today about apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy. Not that many companies seem to know about the 0.5 per cent levy which all companies with a pay bill of £3m will have to pay from next April.

So anything that draws attention to the issue has to be a good thing. Also, with graduates leaving University with so much debt (average is over £40,000)  it makes sense for some people to go the apprenticeship route, rather than going to college.

I think it’s time we stopped looking at people without degrees as second class citizens and started opening up more routes into careers for people with talent regardless of whether they have got a degree or not.

Of course that means offering high levels of training which is where the apprenticeship levy comes in.

Daily Telegraph: Digital Leaders conference


Today I went to the Daily Telegraph Digital Leaders conference in London’s Bishopsgate. I had to get there super early (7.30am!!) to report on a breakfast roundtable which was really interesting (and the breakfast was really good especially the danish pastries and yoghurt).

Essentially it was a breakfast intended for larger companies who are trying to get to grips with the digital revolution and new ways of thinking and acting more quickly. There were two main speakers: Accenture’s Narry Singh and Alberto Prado, Vice President Head of Digital Accelerator at Royal Philips.

Narry talked about ‘Chapter 1 thinking’ and about how many big companies have only really made the first steps towards becoming fully digital organisations. They also both talked about some of the recruitment challenges that companies face hiring some of the best digital talent, many of whom are tempted to work for start-ups or as contractors for a short period of time.

Anyway, you can also read my previous interview with Narry which appeared in The Daily Telegraph today. My report on the digital breakfast will be in a few days time (when I’ve written it!)



My latest features! Daily Telegraph: Technology special (8/12/15)


Great to get a cover feature in a Daily Telegraph technology special yesterday about what’s coming in 2016 – never an easy thing to write in November 2015! Ironically, couldn’t find the piece on line so have taken a picture of the paper instead.

Special thanks to my panel of technology experts who I was able to name check in the piece including Sean Hannam, Editor of Trade Magazine ERT, Paul Lamkin, Editor in Chief, Wareable and my old Tech Digest editor, Gerald Lynch, now Editor of Gizmodo UK. Your time and patience were very much appreciated.

Also inside I wrote a feature on what’s new for tablets in 2016 – clearly it’s all about 2-in-1 devices such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and new professional devices such as the Apple iPad Pro. You can see the feature in its full inky glory below.

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Should we stay or go? SMEs talk Europe at Daily Telegraph’s Festival of Business. Louis Saha talks business leadership

Former footballer Louis Saha talked about the challenges of running his own business

Former footballer Louis Saha talked about the challenges of running his own business

It’s been a busy week this week. On Tuesday I went to the Festival of Business at the lovely Brewery on Chiswell Street to cover a few of the talks for The Daily Telegraph.

Obviously most of the debate among SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) at the moment is about whether we should be in or out of Europe. And what exactly are the terms we should be renegotiating with the European Union if we do decide we want to stay.

Not surprisingly it seems most of the speakers and the audience thought Brussels shouldn’t have the final say on Health and Safety or Employment legislation and the amount of ‘red tape’ that prevents us from doing business should be reduced. However, it seems that much of this legislation doesn’t actually come from Brussels but from our own Government instead!

Another interesting discussion about innovation and entrepreneurship was provided by two sixtysomething CBEs – Tony Pidgley, founder of Berkeley Homes and John Timpson of shoe repair business Timpsons fame. I learned a lot about both businesses and their founders and a bit about what it takes to build multi-million pound companies (hard work, giving people control, getting a mentor and luck, it seems).

Undoubtedly most striking was the fact that around 10 per cent of Timpsons employees are ex-offenders, some are even still in prison and run the shops on day release. And while 50 per cent of those who go to prison re-offend within 48 months, only 3 per cent of those working for Timpsons do so.

It’s a brave initiative, and one that is clearly working for Timpsons and society at large, but I still don’t know how I’d feel about a possible former burglar cutting my keys!

It was also interesting to hear about Tony Pidgley’s colourful background. A Barnardo’s Boy, brought up in a railway carriage by travellers from the age of 4, he is your archetypal self-made man setting up and selling a haulage business in his twenties before founding Berkeley Homes in the 1970s.

Not as if it has been all plain sailing for him.  He has had to fight off a couple of hostile takeovers along the way, including one from his very own son which put somewhat of a strain on family relations and cost him his first marriage.

Finally, I went to see ex footballer Louis Saha talk about his latest business venture, Axis Stars which aims to protect professional sports people from fraudsters. He talked about having to make the adjustment from being a footballer where everything was done for him to making his own decisions and leading staff in business!