Posted on July 22, 2016 by staff

‘My wife told me to stop moaning and help fix skills gap’


The CEO of a major tech hub has revealed that his WIFE was responsible for his involvement in the UK’s first purpose-built digital school.

Jon Corner, who runs The Landing in Salford Quays, said that talent and skills will be crucial to the tech sector in the North of England.

“The common denominator for all of these northern cities will be talent and skills. That’s the bedrock,” he told BusinessCloud’s ‘Tech in the Northern Powerhouse’ event during the International Festival for Business in Liverpool.

“As a business person I spent a lot of time moaning that I couldn’t find the right talent. My wife told me ‘why don’t you stop moaning about it and do something about it?’

“I got involved in a new school – a UTC in MediaCity. It’s the first purpose-built digital school in the UK. It’s a unique environment.”

Outgoing Digital Minister Ed Vaizey told BusinessCloud recently that the North’s tech clusters must work together to realise the Northern Powerhouse dream.

Corner has worked in tech for most of his life.

He started in music tech before moving to London for 12 years, where he says he fell in love with digital technology.

“I started my own company and it went from two people in my front room to 30 of us,” he said.

After returning to the north he became part of the project team that helped shape the original concept of MediaCityUK, including the bid to attract the BBC, and was later the University of Salford’s director of MediaCityUK.

He was then appointed CEO of The Landing at MediaCity, which he describes as a “bit of a playground for me”.

He told the audience: “The brief was to create a place for small companies to grow.

“Forty per cent of the facility is studio and testing labs for small companies. They can be a tenant and go into a lab and find out if their stuff works.

“We have VR testing labs. We have dementia labs to test health tech.

“We were told in the first year we might hit 25 per cent occupancy but we hit 100 per cent occupancy in the first five months. That gave us another problem with an influx of companies wanting to play in MediaCity.

“We help companies grow and scale. We’re three years old and have 134 tech companies.”

He also highlighted the importance of clusters for the tech sector.

“When companies come together they raise the bar,” she said.

“It also gives investors a place to go to. That’s something I’m focused on at The Landing.”