Trade body techUK – formerly Intellect – wants tech industries to boost British economy
The secretary of state for business, Vince Cable, has relaunched technology trade body techUK with a mission to grow the UK’s tech sector, to beef up Ofcom’s ability to get spectrum into use, to boost online security, and to promote training and skills.
The body, which was previously known as Intellect , aims to represent the one million people who have jobs in the tech sector, and ensure that information technology plays its part in the national economy. Its role goes beyond representing tech-specific companies and aims to help government to focus on tech despite the lack of a specific technology ministry
In particular, techUK will set up a new forum designed to enhance Ofcom’s ability to get spectrum in use, in order to prevent a repeat of the delays which dogged the introduction of 4G services, where operators squabbling over their access to the new spectrum needed.
“The UK is the highest information technology exporter in the G7 nations,” Cable said at the launch event for techUK. But to enable local successes such as silicon designers ARM and Imagination to grow into truly world class organisations, would require am industrial strategy in which industry and the government work together, he added.
The newly-relaunched body will have four main focuses, according to the CEO Julian David:
- Trade and export, where it will work with the UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) to build export opportunities, in particular finding 1000 SMEs that will trade abroad
- Infrastructure, where techUK starts with an ambitious idea to shake up spectrum allocation, with a spectrum policy forum that will try and stop the destructive arguments which happen over things like the 4G auction
- Security, where an initiative tio “design out” cyber crime by hardening software and other products will be chaired by Minister for Security James Brokenshire
- Skills, where techUK will be directing commercial bodies’ funding to the Code Club, which aims to set up volunteer-led after school programming clubs in 25 percent of British primary schools.
“Technology is the beating heart of the UK economy,” David told the launch, promising that the new organisation would be truly national, seeking out tech centres outside of London’s Tech City.
“Infrastructure is the nervous system,” he went on. “Our most pressing challenge is spectrum – we have to find a better way to manage spectrum. The government and Ofcom cannot do this alone,” he said,.
Tech UK deputy CEO clarified to TechWeekEurope that techUK is not critical of Ofcom’s role, but wants to broker better industrial relations with the operators, in advance of the roll-out of 5G services.
The SME focus will be led by Guy Mucklow, CEO of Postcode Anywhere, who said “techUK’s commitment to SMEs mirrors the radical, fast-growth business models so many of these companies operate by.”
Clare Sutcliffe started Code Club when she wanted to get more young people involved in programming and decided to use volunteers rather than go through the curriculum. The movement is on a roll, but “we need support from industry to find volunteers and funds,” she said.
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