Tech City – delivering Croydon’s future skills, now

By - Tuesday 3rd March, 2015

Half the jobs we’ll do in ten years’ time don’t exist yet. Enter Future Tech City, says Nigel Dias

In November 2013, Croydon Tech City (CTC) launched its Future Tech City (FTC) initiative, the purpose of which is to raise the awareness and availability of tech skills in the borough, in particular by promoting organisations like Code Club and Apps for Good. With more schools, children and adults getting involved, the project is growing and it is planned to add a ‘Croydon Tech City for Kids’ and, hopefully, a technology apprenticeship scheme.

Why is all this so important? The buzzword is STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. A 2014 report by the Campaign for Science and Engineering states the UK faces a shortfall of 40,000 STEM-skilled workers every year. At the same time, half of the jobs people will be doing ten years from now don’t yet exist, so people will need to adapt their skill sets to remain employable in an age when technology constantly redefines our world. Delivering these emerging skills to local people and raises awareness of current and future job roles is crucial if Croydonians are to maximise their employment prospects.

One new development is a Croydon Tech City for kids

Future Tech City has five main streams of activity, all of it delivered by CTC and our army of incredible volunteers.

Firstly, we’re continuing our work with Code Club, aiming to get into every primary school in the borough to teach young children basic STEM skills and support teachers to deliver an increasingly complicated technology curriculum.

Secondly, we support Apps for Good to get into the borough’s secondary schools, delivering both tech and entrepreneurial skills.

Next something new: a Croydon Tech City for kids. To help young people understand how to have successful career in technology, local secondary schools are invited to nominate interested students, who will meet successful local men and women of different backgrounds, talking about how they built their careers. The students will be fully supported by CTC and business mentors.

Opportunities include free web development courses and the Croydon Tech City MBA

The fourth stream is also new, as we explore connecting our brilliant tech business community with our school community, to consider work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.

Lastly, we want to educate the borough’s adult populations. Opportunities include free web development courses, agile methodology workshops and the Croydon Tech City MBA which teaches our community how to run a start-up.

If rewarding employment opportunities exist here, why would young adults want to leave?

The Future Tech City initiative has knock-on effects. Unlike much of the technology industry, Apps for Good and Code Club both have excellent gender balances with girls as engaged as boys. Also, our staged events support a pipeline of enthusiastic and talented local young adults.

In the same way that CTC is changing outsiders’ perception of Croydon, FTC helps us change our local talent’s perception of home. In the past, people often had to leave Croydon to find rewarding employment, but if we show our young adults that it already exists here, why would they want to leave?

Nigel Dias

Nigel Dias

Nigel Dias (@nigeld27) is the co-founder of Croydon Tech City (@croydontechcity) and Managing Director of 3n Strategy (

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