techUK in conversation with Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Jacqueline de Rojas CBE in conversation with Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Former techUK President Jacqueline de Rojas joined then Chancellor Rishi Sunak to discuss how in the modern world ‘every job is a tech job’ and the need to demystify the industry to ensure everyone can see the opportunities of technology as open to them.
In the interview, they explore how ‘every job is a tech job’ and what actions the UK needs to take to democratise and demystify the tech industry so that everyone can see a career in tech as one for them. Our economic recovery must be an inclusive one and tech can play a key role in building a levelled-up economy.
Speaking about the skills needed to succeed in the tech industry, Jacqueline backed alternative routes and said it was important to “demystify technology” for young people and women.
Jacqueline explained: “The dynamic that's helping is that we need skills really fast. When you put that dynamic together with traineeships and apprenticeships, what you find is you get people who can learn and also start to contribute to industry much faster than if they were going through the traditional university route."
The Chancellor, who has supported apprenticeships and traineeships through his Plan for Jobs, said: “One of the great things that has happened is people are increasingly seeing apprenticeships as a fantastic high-quality route.
"And then the next bit is changing people's perception… it's not just for particular types of jobs because they have in their head apprenticeships in the old days and this type of industry… we're seeing now, whether it's Microsoft, whether it's smaller businesses, the apprenticeship route used to bring young people into the industry.”
The Chancellor and Jacqueline also discussed how techUK and the Treasury are working together particularly to support smaller businesses adopt new technologies through the new ‘Help to Grow: Digital’ scheme announced in the March Budget. Jacqueline stressed that it was important to incentivise small businesses to make use of technology, particularly through the adoption of software services such utilising cloud technologies.
They go on to cover how learning to fail is important for innovation and is part of leadership in any ambiguous or uncertain environment. Jacqueline pointed to tech hubs in Israel as an example, where they won't invest in any founder unless they have failed two or three times already.
Jacqueline de Rojas CBE
techUK Board Member and Former President | Co-Chair, Institute of Coding | Portfolio Non-Executive Director
Non-Executive Director, Business Mentor and Advocate for Inclusion.
"If we are to thrive in a digital future, we must ensure that all our voices heard when it comes to designing technology. If we do not, we will create a world that does not work for everybody."
And as we build this digital world, the need to stay safe is heightened as our dependency to live and work online increases. Competitive advantage will come from teams that look outwards not inwards and therefore businesses that build a culture of inclusion and maximise their security posture"
Voted the Most Influential Woman in IT 2015 and Included in World’s 100 most influential people in digital government 2019: Woman of the Year awarded by Women in IT Excellence 2019, 2020 Asian Tech Pioneer, named in 2021 Connected Britain’s Top 100 Influencers and Stroeous Award Winner: Global Positive Impact Leader of the Year 2021. Listen to her life and music choices on Desert Island Discs podcast March 2019.
Jacqueline was awarded CBE for Services to International Trade in Technology in the Queen's New Year Honours list 2018.
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As Associate Director for Policy Neil leads techUK's domestic policy development in the UK. In this role he regularly engages with UK and Devolved Government Ministers, senior civil servants and members of the UK’s Parliaments with the aim of supporting government and industry to work together to make the UK the best place to start, scale and develop technology companies. Neil also acts as a spokersperson for techUK on UK policy in the media and at Parliamentary Committees.
Neil joined techUK in 2019 to lead on techUK’s input and engagement with Government on the UK-EU Brexit trade deal negotiations, as well as leading on economic policy. He has a background in the UK Parliament and in social research and holds a masters degree in Comparative Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh and an undergraduate degree in International Politics from City, University of London.
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