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National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC), Ebbw Vale

National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC), Ebbw Vale

This breakout session will give an overview of the employment, education, and training landscape of the Cyber Security industry in Wales. We will show you just how flourishing the Welsh cyber eco-system is with helpful tips about local employers, and upskilling and retraining opportunities.

Employers in the industry with open or upcoming vacancies will then be able to promote their roles and offer insight around securing a job in the sector. We will then open up for a Q&A.

Ian Brown (Head of Ops at Illustrate Digital)

Ian Brown

Head of Ops at Illustrate Digital

After a successful career in managing several Tesco stores across the UK, but with a lifelong passion for development and the tech industry, Ian decided to take the plunge and shift jobs into the career he’d always dreamed of pursuing. He embarked on an Open University course to help sharpen the skills he’d picked up in his downtime, having spent many years coding passion projects in his spare time.

Meanwhile, he took to knocking on the door of some of Cardiff’s best development agencies in the search of a job in the sector he’s always dreamt of working in.

Illustrate Digital were behind one of those doors and they decided to give Ian a shot at an interview as a Junior Developer. They weren’t even hiring!

It didn’t take long for Ian to progress from this junior role to the position of Mid-Level and eventually Senior-Level Developer, before becoming Illustrate’s Lead Back-End Developer in early 2019.

With that strong background in managing supermarkets, when the position of Head of Ops was opened up to enable the growth of the company, Ian was perfectly placed to take on the challenge heading up the operational side of the agency.

CSA Catapult

CSA Catapult

The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult is a Not for Profit organisation headquartered in South Wales. It is focused on accelerating the adoption of compound semiconductors and on bringing applications to life in three technology areas: Power Electronics, RF & Microwave and Photonics. The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult exists to help the UK compound semiconductor industry grow as they are integral to achieving the UK government’s 2050 net zero targets and ensuring secure and resilient communications in the digital world.

Join HR Director Clare Gunning, RF Engineer Dr Fatemeh Hoveizavi, and Senior Embedded Software Engineer Iestyn Llyr, in our breakout room for Level Up: Working in Tech 2020, as they discuss how they got into tech and what their roles entail, day to day. They will also highlight CSA Catapult’s culture and what we look for in a team member, as well as professional development opportunities available, from our Skills Academy to becoming STEM ambassadors.

During the session you will have the chance to ask Clare, Fatemeh, Iestyn questions as they share advice that has helped them advance their careers in tech and innovation.

CS Connected

CS Connected

CSconnected is a Research and Technology Organisation that represents the activities of organisations involved in compound semiconductor related activities, as well as organisations along the supply chains whose products and services are enabled by compound semiconductors.

The UK, and in particular, Wales, is home to a growing number of organisations and businesses that are active in this increasingly important industry sector.

Rhys Griffiths (Business Relationship Manager (Wales) at The Open University)

Rhys Griffiths

Business Relationship Manager (Wales) at The Open University

Rhys has over 10 years’ experience working across the education sector in Wales. Currently he is the Business Relationship Manager for The Open University in Wales and takes a leading role engaging with employer across Wales to develop their employees.

Rhys believes that everyone should have the opportunity to access relevant, high quality education in order to reach their goals in life.

Richard Hebblewhite (Senior Lecturer in Computing & Programme Leader at Wrexham Glyndwr University)

Richard Hebblewhite

Senior Lecturer in Computing & Programme Leader at Wrexham Glyndwr University

Richard is a multi-award winning Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

Named UK Academic of the Year 2020 at the recent Grads in Games awards, he has more than 18 years’ experience as an academic and free-lance developer. He is also the founder of Games Talent Wales; the first Welsh nationally funded game talent development programme, specialising in the support and creation of sustainable indie game studios.

Richard is a member of BAFTA Cymru, and is also the Tranzfuser Local Hub Coordinator for North Wales (based at WGU) where he established the Level Up Wales initiative which has grown to become the most successful business accelerators and game industry partnership programmes in Wales.

His primary research interests involve the use of game technology within education in addition to the practicalities of game development such as production management, optimisation of graphical rendering, immersive game design and artificial intelligence systems for games.

Steve Jones (Careers & Employer Engagement Manager at Bridgend College)

Steve Jones

Careers & Employer Engagement Manager at Bridgend College

I work as Careers & Employer Engagement Manager at Bridgend College. I manage the careers team, as well as leading on the college careers programme and employer engagement across the college. I work with a range of businesses in relation to business development, recruitment, skills gaps and industry needs, as well as ensuring students have access to the best local opportunities to engage with employers.

I have experience of advising education providers with their careers programme and I have supported many students and adults into successful career paths.

Holly-Marie Lidbury (Education Lead at National Digital Exploitation Centre, Ebbw Vale)

Holly-Marie Lidbury

Education Lead at National Digital Exploitation Centre, Ebbw Vale

Holly works with schools and the community across South East Wales to promote progression into the cyber industry. She has a background in education and technology with previous roles in digital marketing, as a Maths and IT teacher in a valleys school, and various other projects.

Holly is a graduate of the University of Exeter, where she studied English Literature, and then of Cardiff University, where she completed her master's degree in Computing, and IT Management. She also has a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics and was recently seconded into the National Cyber Security Centre's i100 programme as an ambassador for their CyberFirst project.

Steph Locke (Chief Executive Officer at Nightingale HQ Ltd)

Steph Locke

Chief Executive Officer at Nightingale HQ Ltd

Data Scientist, Author turned Entrepreneur, Steph is passionate about helping business use their data more effectively and adopting AI. After running her own data consultancy successfully for several years, she wanted to scale this impact so she co-founded Nightingale HQ. We are building the “Marketplace of data & AI services for Manufacturers” where they can access a network of vetted data experts and quickly improve critical areas like the supply chain, ops management, inventory, and downtime. If you like we are the Amazon for AI services for Manufacturers.

Steph has written two books on data science and is one of four people in the world who is a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) in Data Platform and AI technologies. She enjoys contributing to tech and business events and runs her own events SatRdays and DataOpticon.

Victoria Mann (CEO of NearMeNow)

Victoria Mann

CEO of NearMeNow

Vicky is the brains behind the app – the captain and pilot of the NearMeNow Rocket ship!

Vicky was a Senior Risk Analyst for over ten years within three major financial institutions in South Wales, UK and her numerous achievements; from delivering an automated underwriting engine that revolutionised decision making in the motor finance industry, to being a sole pricing analyst for major global finance initiatives; gave her invaluable experience and skills to drive forward the development of the app.

However, it was after a career change to become a Secondary Mathematics and IT Teacher that her idea for this app came to her whilst she sat in the hairdresser’s chair. In fact, it was during an A-Level Business Studies class that she first voiced her idea out loud when a student asked her whether she’d ever had her own business idea. And because Vicky is a ‘doer’ and not a dreamer, sh felt it was important to see that business idea through and develop it into the App that you know as NearMeNow.

Rowena Morgan (Graduate Programme Manager at Welsh Contact Centre Forum)

Rowena Morgan

Graduate Programme Manager at Welsh Contact Centre Forum

Rowena Morgan is the Programme Manager for the Welsh Contact Centre Forum’s Welsh Graduate Programmes - an industry led, collaborative, part-EU funded initiative to create and retain graduate talent in data science/analytics & financial services skills in Wales.

Rowena’s background is inward investment, economic development and skills, previously working for the international and regional arm of the Welsh Development Agency, Training & Enterprise Councils and Welsh Government. Rowena is a Board member of Cardiff University’s Data Innovation Accelerator and holds a MBA.

Jenny Sadler (Graduate Software Engineer at Office of National Statistics)

Jenny Sadler

Graduate Software Engineer at Office of National Statistics

After working for 13 years as a Support Worker, the last 8 years in Homeless Services, at 37 I decided to make the transition to a career in the technology sector. My academic background is Psychology; BSc Psychology in 2004 and subsequently a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling.

Over the last year I have completed a one-year MSc in Applied Software Engineering at the National Software Academy, Cardiff University. In September I started my first tech role as a Graduate Software Engineer with the Civil Services and am now enjoying balancing working remotely and being a mum to my 3 year old son.

Rony Seamons (Chief Operating Officer at AMPLYFI Ltd)

Rony Seamons

Chief Operating Officer at AMPLYFI Ltd

As Chief Operating Officer for AMPLYFI, Rony is integral to the organisational scale-up of the Company.

With over 15 years of experience in leadership and coaching, his last role was at NatWest where he led the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Programme, working intensively with over 400 businesses to help them scale.

After graduating from Cardiff University with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry, Rony held various positions in chemical research and sales. At AMPLYFI, Rony is responsible for people and process management. He leads on performance management with an overarching goal to retain and foster the culture of AMPLYFI as headcount continues to grow and new offices are rolled out.

He oversees the recruitment process and leads on coaching across the Company. He is also responsible for the organisational structure and functioning, ensuring that the operational model and processes are robust but agile enough for continued rapid scale.

James Smith (Managing Director of DevOpsGroup Ltd)

James Smith

Managing Director of DevOpsGroup Ltd

James Smith is a proud Welshman with more than 20 years’ experience of driving digital transformation and IT modernisation.

He is currently CEO and co-founder of Cardiff based DevOpsGroup, a next-gen technology company who make Cloud and DevOps adoption fast, secure and simple.

James is passionate about raising the bar for the Welsh economy by connecting people and technology to drive positive change.
An active member of the Welsh technology community, James holds positions as a steering group member for Technocamps as well as an industrial advisor to the Institute of Coding for Wales.

Amy Taaffe-Evans (Senior Leader within the IT Directorate of DVLA)

Amy Taaffe-Evans

Senior Leader within the IT Directorate of DVLA

As a senior leader within DVLAs IT Directorate since late 2016, Amy has led her team in support of a comprehensive people-centric reorganisation and transformation programme. Amy and her team ensure that DVLA can attract, retain and develop the right talent to continue to deliver best in class services quickly and cost-effectively.

Amy has experience delivering complex change agendas across a number of high profile organisations within the home broadband and mobile sector.

Amy is passionate about the inclusion of women in tech and is a firm believer that motivating and inspiring people to realise their full potential is as critical to success as the quality of the technology or service being delivered.

Matthew Turner (Software Academy Manager & Knowledge Transfer Officer;Industry and External Engagement Manager at Cardiff university)

Matthew Turner

Software Academy Manager & Knowledge Transfer Officer;Industry and External Engagement Manager at Cardiff university

I’m the Industry and External Engagement Manager for the School of Computer Science and Informatics. I’ve worked at Cardiff University since 2004, having previously been at the University of Reading. I’ve undertaken a variety of roles at Cardiff University in Registry, School of Dentistry and the School of Social Sciences before joining the School of Computer Science and Informatics in June 2014 to manage the establishment of the National Software Academy.

My role within the School of Computer Science and Informatics covers all aspects of external engagement across teaching, research and our outreach activities. I'm particularly interested in working with external organisations to enhance the employability of our students through projects and placements.

The Open University

The Open University

The Open University has a strong pedigree of working with employers to understand their learning and development needs.

Training includes apprenticeships, short courses, degrees, certificates and diplomas. The scalability and flexibility of OU education means minimal disruption for organisations and employees can apply learning to their workplace immediately.