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Education system needs to reflect technology skills for jobs of tomorrow, MP hears

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A lack of understanding of how to teach tech in school risks leaving the next generation of coders and developers to train themselves.

That was one of the warnings as members of Norwich’s tech industry – the majority of whom were self-taught – met city MP Clive Lewis to explain what the burgeoning sector needs in order to continue thriving.

Claire Riseborough, the founder of social-enterprise Step into Tech to educate parents and teachers about the digital industries, told the Norwich South MP children with technological interests were not being supported to develop their skills – and were instead having to teach themselves.

She said: “Are we equipping our young people with the right skills for the jobs of tomorrow? I am not sure if we are.

“We need to embrace technology as a tool to teach children because that is the way they are consuming information at such a fast rate.”

Mrs Riseborough also suggested schools may need to look at new ways to stimulate and engage technologically-minded pupils.

Other issues discussed at the Norfolk Developers group breakfast meeting, at the Maid’s Head Hotel in Norwich, included a lack of infrastructure holding businesses back and worries about labour in a post-Brexit world.

Labour MP Mr Lewis, who resigned as shadow business secretary last week, promised to take the concerns to Westminster and said he would try to arrange for a meeting with a government minister for the Norwich tech community to make its case.

He said: “The main question for me was how does Norwich as a tech sector drive sustainable growth and how does it make its way both nationally and internationally? The two things which came out to me that are needed were education and infrastructure.”

Rail and road routes were both raised as holding back businesses with traffic in the city centre highlighted as preventing investment by some firms.

Mr Lewis added he was impressed by the willingness of the sector in Norwich to work together.

He said: “I was really taken aback by how all these businesses were talking about collaboration over competition. Although they do compete, these tech companies, by merging and sharing different technologies, create and innovate new products.”

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