Lord Mayor - City skills centre stage in Tech Week
Calling for no one to be left behind by rapid change, Lord Mayor Peter Estlin says London needs to work hard to ensure a digital future for everyone.
Last month, the brightest and best from the tech world descended upon the capital for London Tech Week. More than 50,000 delegates from across global business and civil society came together to discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by society’s rapid technological advancements.
London was a fitting location for such an event, having firmly established itself as a global leader for tech, with the bustling Square Mile taking centre stage in the latest chapter of the city’s long history of innovation. From fintech to blockchain to green finance, London is at the helm of the UK’s emergent tech-driven industries, working in tandem with vibrant tech clusters across the country.
And it is a timely transformation. We are now well into the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. The City is grabbing with both hands the new opportunities that technology offers to drive economic growth, domestic investment and international trade.
Through embracing emerging tech platforms, investing in fintech innovation and by accelerating our leadership in green finance, London is building on its fundamental strengths.
Those fundamental strengths – the global talent, excellent infrastructure, English language and operation under common law – will underpin London’s continued success.
Alongside supporting City businesses to drive and embrace innovations, we are also doing our own bit here at the City of London Corporation. We will be investing in digital and tech solutions – from funding for 5G to the electrification of the City Corporation fleet.
Perhaps most importantly, digital transformation offers us an opportunity to address digital and social inclusion, widen social mobility and create opportunity for all through skills development. It is an opportunity we must seize.
Access to the best digital skills underpins the success of my programme Shaping Tomorrow’s City. As Lord Mayor, I am meeting with businesses, government, teachers and people, young and old, to understand how we can close the digital skills gap.
That’s why I am working on the development of a UK branch of the global Coalition for Digital Intelligence (CDI), with the support of the OECD and World Economic Forum, which will be an internationally-recognised framework for digital skills. By raising awareness of the importance of the UK Coalition for Digital Intelligence (UK CDI) – a new global standard for digital skills, digital literacy and job readiness – we will enhance the pipeline of digitally-skilled talent.
Though technology can be a great force for good, we need to work hard to ensure that our digital future includes everyone, and that no one is left behind by the rapid pace of change.
Peter Estlin is 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London, an ICAEW Chartered Accountant and member of the London Society of Chartered Accountants.
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