CA is in talks with the organisers of Tech City about creating a similar tech hub in the Thames Valley region, based out of the firm’s UK headquarters in Ditton Park.
The idea is the brainchild of Jacqueline de Rojas, general manager for CA in the UK and Ireland, who took the helm at the UK arm of the software management firm last January. Her hope is to offer a place for young technologists to hone their skills, and also to let CA tap into the new technology talent out there.
“At Ditton Park, we’ve got so many people working from home and they’re all mobile now, so I’ve got thousands of square feet of space,” de Rojas told V3.
“I’m trying to have discussions with the government and Tech City about how I can create a Thames Valley Tech City and incubate on our premises at Ditton Park. It’s a campus, it’s got a Montessori nursery, it’s got a gym, it’s got everything, which is great for either young parents or young people. I want to find a way to incubate businesses, which are 10-plus people and open it up to young people who need a desk and a space.”
Talks on the plans are still ongoing.
“It’s more complicated than you might think to do it, but we’re in heavy discussions with Tech City about why wouldn’t I use an empty space to do that,” de Rojas said.
She added that she is also considering offering desk space to customers who need to innovate off-site “because they can’t do it in the middle of a banking environment”.
“I’ve got to decide whether we incubate businesses or incubate parts of our customers’ businesses or partner businesses. And it’s not about us funding it, it’s about us offering them the space and platform to do it,” de Rojas explained.
“What will be really good is assisting them with project management and infrastructure, because we’re great at that, and we’ll learn something from them. When you wander around these places, you meet people and think, that person is so smart, I have to have them on my team. So you expose yourself to skills you can bring in and I think that’s really important for CA because we could get even more fusty if we just continue to be in the area that we think we’re really great at.”
Marco Comastri, CA EMEA president, is also impressed by the Tech City model, calling it a ‘brilliant activity undertaken by the government’. He agreed with de Rojas on the need to boost digital skills, both at the junior and senior ends of the workplace.
“There is a lack of knowledge from the board and CEO standpoint on the strategic weapon of information technology. If today the CEO can read a balance sheet, I believe the CEO must become very familiar with the use of IT,” he argued.
“European students should also devote more and more of their interests to the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] areas. If we’re missing the competence on these four important things, I don’t believe Europe can compete in the future.”
Comastri added that Europe’s future lies in software and services innovation, and that the region has no viable manufacturing future.
“Mass production in Europe is challenged by the Far East,” he said. “If we continue to invest in manufacturing, we’ll have a problem as the Far East can be better than Europe. If we focus instead on innovative services then this will create jobs.”
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