Request for Techies!

We’re on the hunt for technical talent to help us with the Techies in Residence Programme – an innovative new project to build links between the community sector and Northern Ireland’s knowledge economy.

Digital Technology holds massive potential to solve problems in the voluntary and community sector (VCSE). Over the last 3 months we have recruited 6 innovation projects from the sector and we are now seeking to match them with high-quality technical staff from Northern Irish companies.

The project will take the form of a 10-week residency (Sept – Nov), where staff from NI tech companies will embed themselves in the VCSE organisation. The aim is to build a prototype solution in answer to one of the briefs outlined here.

A salary contribution of up to £6,000 is available to help offset your costs over the 10 weeks. In addition, each participating company will gain extensive exposure through the project and will, subject to agreement, be entitled to develop the solution commercially after the residency. It’s also a significant opportunity to gain insight into a new marketplace, help meet CSR objectives and support the development of future managerial talent.

Our aim is to match interested companies with briefs that are relevant to their expertise and interests. We’d invite you to browse through the attached briefs and if you think that your organisation has the talent to help out with one or more, please get in touch via email to and we can follow up with more detail.

Briefs: Techies in Residence Techies copy

Capability Assessment – Big Screen Content and Programming Provider

This was sent to me from Belfast City Council. I think all digital agencies should look at it. The only negatives are the relative restrictions on the content that can be pushed. I would say there are great opportunities to promote some cutting edge games and experiences via the Big Screen.

This document has been issued on behalf of Belfast City Council (BCC) which is at an early stage of developing a procurement strategy for the provision of a content and programming provider service for the Big Screen which is located in the grounds of City Hall. In the future this service will include the maintenance and upkeep of the software and hardware to maintain the Big Screen Service. Any participation in a future tender exercise will not be prejudiced should your company respond or decide not to complete this document, nor is the completion of this document a guarantee of invitation to participate in a future tendering exercise.



This document provides a brief outline of Belfast City Council’s current position and anticipated outcome for appointing a content and programming provider to keep the screen operational on a day to day basis. In this document, the Council is seeking information on your organisation and your services. The same information will be requested from other providers.

This Questionnaire is divided into two sections:

1. Organisation Information

2. Service Model Questions

All responses must be received via email to bainesd@belfastcity.govuk by 3.00pm on Friday 14th August 2015.

All queries regarding this process should be emailed to Denise Baines at prior to the closing date with the email subject content stated as ‘BIG SCREEN CONTENT PROVIDER – CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT ENQUIRY’

The Questionnaire is attached here:


The month of June has been incredibly busy for me. I’ve had multiple projects on in multiple weeks as well as fitting in a lot of remote assessment for my students. Luckily we have online systems and WiFi!

I spent the bulk of the last week in Luxembourg with the European Commission. I was acting as a rapporteur for ICT evaluators. Over the course of the week I was immersed in a group of people who were interested, dedicated, passionate, educated and curious. While I was really just the Scribe, I was greeted very warmly by all (and it was acknowledged I knew a lot more than was expected about the technologies and projects). It felt good.

None of the people I met were “9-5″. They were all working full-time on their opus but had time for conversations, directed or idle. And they all spoke English – which prompted me to try my French and German even more.

Most evenings I was back to Northern Ireland matters – dealing with difficult conversations, assessing verbose reports on hardware installations and explaining to friends why I was in Luxembourg and not Lisburn (and to some, why I was in Lisburn in the first place).

Luxembourg is a curious place. Odd opening hours, seemingly conservative yet refreshingly liberal in other ways compared to home. The culture is foreign to me but I could get used to it and more than one person did suggest I look to Luxembourg or Brussels for my next work. I could get used to being one of the Luxembourgeoisie.

I heard stories of night escapes to the Island of Capri on the eve of the Second World War laden with Polish gold, ate with a restaurateur who builds schools in Nepal, of the failure of “foreign food” on the island of Crete, and of sailing and scuba diving in the waters around Spain and Mexico. We talked about travel, about post-scarcity society, about how to make a dent in the universe and how it would be cool to work on joint projects. I met some friends that I believe I will retain forever.

I am also confident that if the UK does vote to leave the EU, I will leave the UK. We need fewer borders not more.

I needed a break from the real world. And I feel like I am returning renewed.


Wanted: IT Recruiters with vision

I know there’s a few recruiters in my stream and this might interest them. We allegedly have a shortage of ICT staff – developers, dev ops and infrastructure engineers. Belfast Met is offering free training to Level 2, Level 3 and Level 5 (Foundation Degree).

Yes, a free degree. On Day release.

So a savvy recruiter could sell “great candidates” who may not have the full spread of skills but who are great communicators, team players or other life experience and get them trained up over a period of time to be great employees.

Obviously a recruiter gets paid over an employee reaching their probation period. So, use the system to create the candidates you need with the skills your clients need.

We currently have 100 apprentices out there right now with companies of all sizes and we think we could recruit 200 more this year.

So, come along to this on Friday 29th May and speak to the Apprenticeship NI staff.