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Confirmed speakers include:


Vinous Ali, Associate Director of Policy, techUK

Sarah Atkinson, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Global at Micro Focus and Chair of Skills & Diversity Council, techUK

Anna Brailsford, Chief Executive Officer, Code First Girls

Michael Carney, Policy Engagement and Communications Lead, National Retraining Scheme Division, Department for Education

Amanda Cooper, UK Head of Strategic Capability Planning, Thales

Helen Dalton, Relationship Manager, Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education

Kate Dearden, Research and Campaigns Officer, Community Union

Debbie Forster MBE, CEO, Tech Talent Charter

Scot Gardner, Chief Executive, UK and Ireland, Cisco

Kerry Harrison, Digital Skills Coordinator, Lancashire Local Digital Skills Partnership

Rachid Hourizi, Director, Institute of Coding

Patricia Keating, Executive Director, Tech Manchester

Richard Kershaw, Workforce Planning Manager, Talent Management, Konica Minolta Business Solutions

Samina Kiddier, Policy Delivery Lead, Department for Education

Hema Marshall, General Manager and Leader, SMB Sales UK and Inclusion & Diversity Officer & Skills, Cisco

Tim Page, Senior Policy Officer, TUC

Nimmi Patel, Policy Manager, techUK 

Priya Ramdas, Digital Skills and Inclusion Team Leader, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Adele Reynolds, Principal Skills Manager, Greater Manchester Combined Authority 

Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation

Antony Walker, Deputy CEO, techUK 

Liz Williams MBE, Director Digital Society, BT Group

Helen Wollaston, Chief Executive, WISE

Jane Wood, UK Nations and Regions Director, BT Group


 Vinous AliVinous Ali, Associate Director for Policy, techUK

Vinous is Associate Director of Policy at techUK - the industry body representing the tech sector with over 850 members, large and small. Vinous oversees techUK’s developing and delivering on policies to make the UK the best place to start, scale and base tech businesses alongside working on wider issues around the digital strategy, skills, data ethics and the future of work. She is currently undertaking a Centre for Science and Policy fellowship looking at the impact of the future of work on the economy and society.

Prior to joining techUK Vinous was an Adviser on Home Affairs and Justice in the UK Parliament and previously worked in European Union delegations in Morocco and Thailand where she explored issues such as Human Rights and Democratisation.

Twitter: @vinousali


Sarah Aitkinson picwebsite versionSarah Atkinson, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Global at Micro Focus and Chair of Skills & Diversity Council, techUK

An experienced leader and former news journalist, Sarah Atkinson has over 20 years of experience in multinational organizations including Cisco, 3Com and BMC Software. Today she is Head of Global Social Responsibility at Micro Focus, the largest technology company in the FTSE 100.

Before joining Micro Focus in May 2019, she spent ten years as Vice President, Communications & Social Responsibility, EMEA at CA Technologies. A member of the company’s leadership team, she also led Create Tomorrow which helped introduce STEM careers to over 30,000 young people, particularly girls, and was responsible for the company’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy in EMEA.

From 2015 to 2018, she served on the main board of techUK. Today, she is the Chair of the Diversity & Skills Council at techUK and is actively involved in several programs including Gender Pay Gap reporting, Returners Programs and is a founding supporter of the WISE Campaign’s People Like Me Digital which aims to influence 200,000 11-15-year-old girls in the UK to consider a career in STEM.

Sarah is also a trustee at Berkshire Youth, supporting, empowering & inspiring vulnerable or disadvantaged young people. She was listed in Cranfield University’s School of Management 100 Women to Watch report - a supplement to the Female FTSE Board Report 2018 and in the Computer Weekly 100 Most Influential Women in Technology in 2017 & 2018.

Twitter: @Comms_Sarah


Ana Brailsford pic resized forwebsiteAnna Brailsford, CEO, Code First: Girls and a Board Member for the Institute of Coding

Before joining Code First: Girls, Anna was the CEO and co-founder of Founders Factory incubated EdTech startup Frisbee. Prior to that, Anna was the Commercial Director of Lynda.com and LinkedIn. When LinkedIn acquired Lynda for $1.5 Billion in April 2015, she became part of the fourth-largest acquisition in social media history and subsequently contributed to the creation of LinkedIn Learning.




MichaelCarney picMichael Carney, Policy Engagement and Communications Lead, National Retraining Scheme Division, Department for Education

Michael has been a policy lead at the Department for Education since the summer of 2018. Michael leads on policy engagement and communications on the National Retraining Scheme, alongside advising ministers on the National Retraining Partnership. Michael has been a civil servant since 2015 in a range of roles in a number of departments, including working on a review of how the practical driving test should be delivered in Department for Transport, NATO Defence spend policy in Ministry of Defence and overseeing the HMRC Building our Future programme in Liverpool.

Twitter: @yenracm


Helen Dalton pic resizedHelen Dalton, Relationship Manager, Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education

Helen has worked for Education Business Partnerships, DWP and HMRC. Helen now works for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education as a Relationship Manager helping employers build quality apprenticeships. She is the lead Relationship Manager for the review of Digital Apprenticeship Standards.

Helen enjoys walking, baking and reading.




Kate Dearden picKate Dearden, Research and Policy Officer, Community trade union

Kate joined Community Union in 2017 as research and campaigns officer. She is a researcher for Community’s Commission on Workers and Technology, and further research interests include the future of work, skills, self-employment and the gig economy. She is also passionate about mental health campaigning and policy, as well as women's equality and politics. She previously served as National Chair of Labour Students and has extensive campaigning experience in Scotland through the independence referendum, and for MPs and MSPs.

Twitter: @kate_dearden


Debbie Forster pic resizdforwebsite Debbie Forster MBE, CEO, Tech Talent Charter

Debbie Forster MBE is a recognised figure in the areas of diversity, tech, innovation and education. She is a portfolio consultant and is co-founder and CEO for the Tech Talent Charter, an industry collective which aims to deliver greater gender diversity in the UK tech workforce. She serves on the Institute of Coding's Diversity Board and on the government's Digital Economy Council. She has been named on Computer Weekly’s list of “25 Most Influential Women in UK IT” since 2013, coming in at #3 for 2018 and in 2019 Computer Weekly named Debbie the Most Influential Woman in UK IT. Debbie was awarded an MBE in January 2017 for “Services to Digital Technology and Tech Development” and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) named her Woman of the Year for 2016. Most recently Computer Weekly also named her in its 50 Most Influential People in UK IT, their “definitive list of the real movers and shakers in UK IT - the CIOs, industry executives, public servants and business leaders driving the creation of a high-tech economy.”


Scot Gardner pic resized

Scot Gardner, Chief Executive, UK and Ireland, Cisco

In August 2016, Scot Gardner was appointed UK & Ireland Chief Executive of Cisco.

Prior to his current role, Scot was Vice President of Global Service Provider Segment Sales at Cisco in the Europe, Middle East, Africa & Russia (EMEAR) region. The Global Service Provider segment represented one of the largest and most dynamic markets for Cisco in the region, spanning telecommunications, mobile and cable operators, broadcasters and content providers, as well as cloud and managed services providers.

Scot has over 25 years of experience in the Oil & Gas industry, consultancy and technology start-ups. Since joining Cisco in 1997, Scot has held roles in sales, sales management and business development. For the past 11 years, he has held Director and Executive level sales roles in Public Sector, Financial Services and, more recently in Service Provider, including leading the British Telecom account team. He is a pioneer for collaboration, leading teams to succeed in complex market environments.

Scot holds a Masters degree in Engineering from Birmingham University, an Honorary Doctorate from Buckinghamshire New University and is an Alumni of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Twitter: @ScotMGardner


kERRY HARRISON pic resized for websiteKerry Harrison, Digital Skills Coordinator, Lancashire Local Digital Skills Partnership

Kerry Harrison is the lead for the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership of the Lancashire LEP. This trailblazer project, support by the DCMS, was the first of six to be established across the country and is going from strength to strength. Prior to this role, Kerry has worked across the education sector for over 20 years, in a variety of settings, as a Curriculum Manager and Ed Tech Specialist in a successful Lancashire College, as a senior leader in secondary education and within a Local Authority School Improvement team focused on 14-19 curriculum and careers education development.



Rachid Hourizi picRachid Hourizi, Director, Institute of Coding

As Director of the Institute of Coding (IoC), Rachid leads a national Institute announced by the Prime Minister in January 2018. He has broad experience leading the teaching of coding, digital skills and entrepreneurship within the University of Bath, Department of Computer Science at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He also led efforts to have the Bath placement scheme professionally certified (the first such certification in the country) and to launch digital Degree apprenticeship provision at the university.

For fifteen years prior to his involvement with the IoC, Rachid’s research interests have been in the field of human computer interaction. His research involves knowledge and information exchange between individuals, groups and combinations of the two. This research has involved working closely with industrial and public sector partners in both secure domains e.g. autonomous systems, defence (SEAS DTC I and II) and civilian contexts e.g. emergency response (HASCC), aviation (EPSRC funded Flight Deck Safety Project) and agriculture (the EU funded CLAFIS project).

He is not, however, a career academic, having run national and international teams in the financial domain before returning to academia. His ten years of industrial experience took him to France, Switzerland and the USA before taking up his first post at Bath.

Twitter: @IoCoding


Richard KershawpicRichard Kershaw, Workforce Planning Manager, Talent Management, Konica Minolta Business Solutions

Richard Kershaw has been with Konica Minolta for 7 years and specialises in Workforce Planning, Talent Management, Succession planning, Data Analytics and learning expert.



Samina Kidder picSamina Kidder, Policy Delivery Lead, Department for Education

Samina leads the Computing policy team at the DfE and her responsibilities include: making sure that pupils from all backgrounds are able to access a good computing education, especially girls, spreading the word about the National Centre for Computing Education - and making sure that its computing offer in schools is world-class.

Samina previously worked in Higher Education policy and was the policy lead for the Higher Education and Research Act, delivering one of its statutory instruments, and led on flexible/part-time learning policy


Hema Marshall picHema Marshall, General Manager and Leader, SMB Sales UK and Inclusion & Diversity Officer & Skills, Cisco

Hema Marshall is the General Manager for the SMB Market, Cisco UK and the Executive Lead for Inclusion and Diversity. She is responsible for the strategic direction of the inclusion and diversity agenda in the UK. Hema is a strong leader who is passionate about connecting people, women in tech and helping people unlock their full potential. Hema is an advocate for investing in, connecting with, and inspiring tomorrow’s technology leaders.

Before taking up her current role in December 2016, Hema was the Head of Country Digitisation & Skills agenda, delivering a connected program on how we can digitise the UK and served on the UK & Ireland Executive Board

Previously, Hema was the Head of Strategy and Sales Acceleration for Cisco in the UK and Ireland and was responsible for providing the leadership and direction to customers on how Cisco solutions add financial and strategic value to their business growth.

Over the course of nine years at Cisco, Hema has undertaken marketing leadership roles in emerging technologies, data centre and public sector prior to leading strategy, planning and operations.

Hema is a STEM ambassador and active campaigner for skills in the UK. She was part of the Mayor of London Digital Talent Taskforce (2016-2017). Her passion to build skills in the UK earnt her a place as a Board member for the Digital Apprenticeship Board for The Tech Partnership from 2016-2017. In 2016 she earned a place on the 30% club as a mentee.

In 2017 Hema was shortlisted for the eskills initiative of the year for her works with NEETS and named as one of Cranfield’s 100 women to watch list.

In recent times s

he has been selected to be part of the Tech UK Skills and Diversity Committee and is a signatory for Cisco on the government backed Tech Talent Charter.

Twitter: @HemaMarshall

TimPage picTim Page, Senior Policy Officer, TUC

Tim Page is TUC Senior Policy Officer responsible for industrial policy, energy and environment policy, and science policy. Tim has led the TUC’s work on Artificial Intelligence and the Digital Economy.

Tim is the author of several TUC papers on industrial policy, including ‘Shaping our Digital Future’, which considered a trade union response to the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. Other reports include ‘Powering Ahead’, which argued for a sustainable industrial strategy, and ‘The Way of the Dragon’, which considered the rise of China and the opportunities that this presents for British industry.




NimmiPatel picNimmi Patel, Policy Manager – Skills, Talent & Diversity, techUK

Nimmi is the Policy Manager for skills, talent and diversity at techUK, where she leads on diversity and immigration work. Prior to joining the team, she worked for the UK Labour Party and New Zealand Labour Party during the 2017 NZ General Election as a campaign intern. She studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Manchester.



PriyaRamdasHeadshotPriya Ramdas, Digital Skills and Inclusion Team Leader, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Priya has been Digital Skills and Inclusion team leader in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport since April 2018, leading work on digital inclusion, digital skills for the workforce, and diversity in the digital workforce.

She previously worked in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on corporate governance reform and access to finance, and has also worked in the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and the Ministry of Defence.

She has a Masters in Public Policy from Princeton and an MA in economics and social and political science from Cambridge.


Chris Skidmore MPChris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation

Minister Chris Skidmore was appointed Minister of State jointly at the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 10 September 2019.

Previously Chris Skidmore was Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care between 25 July 2019 and 10 September 2019.

Previously Chris Skidmore was Minister of State jointly at the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy between 5 December 2018 and 25 July 2019.

Chris Skidmore was Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office from 17 July 2016 to 8 January 2018. He was elected Conservative MP for Kingswood in May 2010.


Antony walker resizedforwebsiteAntony Walker, Deputy CEO, techUK

Antony Walker is deputy CEO of techUK, the UK's leading digital technology trade association, which he played a lead role in launching in November 2013. Antony is a member of the senior leadership team and has overall responsibility for techUK's policy work.

Prior to his appointment in July 2012 Antony was chief executive of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the UK's independent advisory group on broadband policy. Antony was closely involved in the development of broadband policy development in the UK since the BSG was established in 2001 and authored several major reports to government. He also led the development of the UK's world leading Open Internet Code of Practice that addresses the issue of net neutrality in the UK.

Prior to setting up the BSG, Antony spent six years working in Brussels for the American Chamber of Commerce following and writing about telecoms issues and as a consultant working on EU social affairs and environmental issues. Antony has a history degree from Aberdeen University and an MA from the Institute of European Studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium.


Liz Williams pic resized

Liz Williams MBE, Director Digital Society, BT Group

Liz is a long-term campaigner on the importance of everyone realising the benefits of digital technology. She leads BT Group’s digital and social inclusion strategies and cross sector collaborations with government, civil society and other leading businesses, focusing on the needs of young people.

Liz is Chair of the Good Things Foundation, the UK’s largest charity focused on supporting digitally and socially excluded people to improve their lives through digital, and a trustee of the London Transport Museum. She sits on the Board of the Government’s Digital Skills Partnership, and is a member of the BCS Computer Science Curriculum and Assessment Committee.

Liz was appointed as a Social Mobility Commissioner by the UK Government in 2018, and awarded an MBE in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to digital literacy and social inclusion.

Twitter: @L12_W


Helen Wollaston picHelen Wollaston, Chief Executive, WISE

Since her appointment in June 2012, Helen has transformed WISE into a thriving, independent social enterprise, enabling business and education providers to increase the participation, contribution and success of women in the UK’s scientific, technology and engineering workforce. Helen is an energetic, inspirational advocate for social change, with a track record of transformational leadership across public, business and not-for-profit sectors. She founded her own consultancy company, Equal to the Occasion, after seven years as Director of Campaigns for the Equal Opportunities Commission and previously ran the Yorkshire region for the National Lottery Charities Board. She is also an alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10k small business programme. In December 2017, Helen joined the Board of Zero Waste Scotland, an agency supporting businesses in Scotland to increase recycling, reduce waste and create a market for the circular economy. Former Non-Executive roles include Senior Independent Director and Deputy Chair of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of YWCA England and Wales (now the Young Women's Trust) and member of the Advisory Board for the Management Division of Leeds University Business School. In her spare time, Helen enjoys caravanning and sailing around the West Coast of Scotland with her partner and cats.

Twitter: @helenwollaston


Jane Wood picJane Wood, BT Group Nations and Regions Director, BT

Jane Wood joined BT Group as, UK Nations and Regions Director in December 2018. Before joining BT Jane was, Executive Director of Membership, Nations and the Prince’s Business Emergency Resilience Group at HRH’s responsible business organisation, Business in the Community (BITC).

Jane was also Chief Executive of Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) for six years, up until she led its merger with BITC, during which time she secured millions of pounds of public and private sector funding for the charity and worked with the charity in identifying cross-border multi-charity funding to benefit vulnerable groups in ethnicity, poverty, education and health. Jane worked closely with multi-industry sector leaders in the UK identifying best practise in organisational structures to deliver sustainable business behaviours. She also led on government relationships and public affairs strategy for the organisation. Her promotion to UK Executive Director within BITC reflects a period of successful leadership, change management and organisational growth.

Jane was previously Head of Corporate Affairs for Scotland and Northern Ireland for Wallmart Boots and worked with both national and local governments on developing public/private sector partnerships in the areas of regeneration, community asset management, retail-led regeneration and corporate responsibility. She led on regulatory and stakeholder relationships.

Jane holds various government advisory positions and is also a board member of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and is an advisor for the John Bryne Award.

For more information, please contact 

  • Noreen Aldworth

    Noreen Aldworth

    Head of Events
    T 020 7331 2052

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