East Ham MP Stephen Timms says that Tech City will create the jobs of the future


- Credit: Archant

East London has a large, youthful population. Where are the future jobs for young people going to come from?

Last week was London Technology Week. It highlighted the claim that “Tech City”, London’s cluster of high-tech firms around Old Street roundabout, is the world’s fastest-growing such cluster. Bruce Macfarlane, chairman of MMC Ventures – which invests in the companies – showed me around some of them one afternoon last month.

The first was Wool and the Gang. The founder’s grandmother taught her to knit as a child. Together with a Swiss woman she met at art college in London, she decided to set up a knitting fashion business. They put patterns on their website. People can knit them for their own use or for sale to others. Starting in New York, they moved back to London because it’s an increasingly important centre for fashion as well as technology. They employ some 20 staff. Old Street is now expensive, so they are in Dalston. They are enthusiastic about the future.

The second was Somo. With about 100 staff, they use the latest technology over mobile networks to support communications and advertising by big companies. They gave me a pair of “Google glasses” to try – it’s like having a computer screen permanently on in the corner of your eye. They also have ingenious new technology to help companies at trade fairs. The third visit was to Google Campus, which provides space for people starting up a new high-tech business.

I recently met Connecting Tech City. It’s new and aims to connect technology companies on our doorstep with east London young people. More and more schools teach computer coding. Tech City offers great careers. Supported by leading technology companies, Connecting Tech City will give schools, parents and young people information on the opportunities available.

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