In addition to joining this year’s Leeds Digital Festival as Associate sponsors, we also hosted four events of our own in the programme – alongside our sister company Fruition IT – which this year included over 300 events and spanned 19 tech categories.

”We were really pleased to welcome Fruition Consulting on board as an Associate Sponsor at this year’s Festival, and have them present a series of valuable insights into the tech talent market as part of the Festival programme” Stuart Clarke, Director of Leeds Digital Festival

Here’s a roundup of some of the brilliant events we attended over the two week Festival period, and where you can catch up on any of the sessions you missed the first time around:

Skills Bootcamps in Coding: Introduction to Programming – Northcoders

Our week one highlights began with an “Introduction to Programming” bootcamp presented by our friends at Northcoders. Their skills bootcamps – which Fruition’s Tech Survey recently helped raise bursary funds for – help participants to become work-ready software developers with outstanding career prospects after just 13 weeks.

During their introductory session at Leeds Digital Festival, Head of Engineering, Jonny Rathbone, provided an introduction to coding and a demonstration of how different languages work together to create a simple form or chatroom. The session also covered important questions around how to get started with a career in tech, the opportunities programming is able to provide, and what life as a software developer looks like.

Interested in finding out more? Check out the Northcoders website for more information on available courses.

The JVM Thing – “Bespoke Kotlin Plugins, how they work and things to look out for” – Fruition IT

Making it’s Leeds Digital Festival debut, and relaunching for the first time since 2019, The JVM Thing returned to the city with a bang! The session, which was purpose-built to serve the JVM language community here in Leeds, brought together some of the city’s software enthusiasts to share their knowledge of the JVM ecosystem and take away a new trick or two.

The webinar – which was hosted by Depop Solution Architect Alexey Soshin – unpacked how the peer-to-peer eCommerce platform was able to introduce a site-wide transformation and meet specific monitoring needs by creating bespoke plugins, also suggesting how other developers might be able to use Ktor to replicate Depop’s successes.

Find out how you can build bespoke Kotlin plugins HERE.

100% Free to Be Me – Sky Betting & Gaming

We kicked off a very busy week two with a visit to Sky Betting & Gaming for “100% Free to Be Me” – an event that offered up insights on how SBG’s unique and ever-evolving culture allows their employees to be unapologetically themselves in the workplace, and how creating an inclusive workplace has had a positive effect on the SBG bottom line.

The lineup included Sky Betting and Gaming CEO, Steve Birch; Customer Operations Director, Dom Price; Head of Design & UX, Tim Keiff and was expertly chaired by SBG’s Inclusion, Wellbeing & Community Senior Manager, Holly Straker-Humphreys. In addition to covering what it is that makes the culture at Sky Betting & Gaming so unique, the session also offered up advice to other businesses looking to become more inclusive and covered important topics like mental health in the workplace, and racial diversity.

Watch the session in full HERE.

Building a Tech Business: From Concept to a Global SaaS Provider – Fruition Consulting

The second week also brought with it the second of our Fruition Family LDF sessions, this time co-hosted by the team at Fruition Consulting and GDS group. In “Building a Tech Business: From concept to a global SaaS provider”, CTO at GDS Group and Senior Associate at Fruition Consulting, Dan Whiteley, considered what it takes to transform your startup into a global software provider.

The session covered a lot of ground, unpacking why GDS chose Leeds as their home, the process they followed to get to this point – detailing everything from proving the concept to building the team – and how they’re using cutting edge serverless gaming technology to create an immersive experience for their users.

Missed it? You can catch up on the session HERE.

How to Build and Develop a Diverse Team in Technology – Fruition IT

Women represent only 19% of tech professionals in the UK today, and just 14% of the tech workforce come from a non-white background. Yet despite increasing pressure from the industry to further representation, there’s still work to be done before the tech sector is truly representative of the wider population.

In “How to build and develop a diverse team in technology”, Fruition IT took a deep dive into today’s tech landscape, drawing on their panels real-life experiences to provide practical advice on how organisations can recruit inclusively across underrepresented groups. The panel of esteemed tech bods – which included Joanne Lockwood, Holly Straker-Humphreys, Ann-Marie Orange, and Harry Bliss – covered areas such as the benefits of curating a diverse workplace, and the need for systemic change within the education system to encourage currently underrepresented groups to enter careers in STEM.

Find out how you can make your organisation a diverse, inclusive place to work by catching up on the session HERE.

Attracting Digital Skills in a Post-Covid World – Fruition IT

The onset of Covid-19 shook the world in more ways than one, and 18 months on the ripple effects of the global pandemic continue to impact businesses worldwide. In the tech sector, the increased demand for digital solutions spurred a boom in the market, and in 2020 the number of unique tech jobs advertised per month in the UK rocketed to almost 400,000.

As an organisation offering both recruitment services and consultancy within the tech space, the Fruition Group experienced first hand the vast changes in the market for tech talent, and the widening of the digital skills gap. The results of our recent market survey – which paints a picture of the current state of play by garnering insights from over 400 respondents working in tech – formed the basis of our final Leeds Digital Festival event.

In “Attracting Digital Skills in a Post-Covid World” founder and Managing Director of the Fruition Group, Sarah Pawson, was able to highlight the ways in which employee and contractor motivations have changed post-Covid, and what businesses need to do in order to attract and retain tech talent in this new labour environment – from remote and flexible working to rising salaries. Sarah was also joined by a panel of guests including; Jess Sewter, Partnerships Director at Generation UK; Clive Smart, Head of Talent Acquisition at Sky Betting and Gaming; Amul Batra, COO at Northcoders; and Charlotte Speak, Founder and CEO at Power of the Parent, all of whom were able to offer insights into the changes they’ve seen in tech recruitment over the past year, both good and bad.

Missed the event? Catch up and find out how to make your business attractive to potential candidates HERE.

Levelling Up Through Tech Growth and Improving Digital Skills – DCMS

The penultimate day of Leeds Digital Festival also saw us tune into the DCMS event on “Levelling Up Through Tech Growth and Improving Digital Skills”. Hosted in partnership with TechNation, and themed around the release of two new DCMS Reports – Assessing the UK’s Regional Digital Ecosystems and the Local Digital Skills Partnerships Evaluation – the session considered how improving digital skills and investing in regions beyond the capital can help to ‘level up’ tech opportunities across the UK.

In addition to seeing a Government minister attend the Festival for the first time in its history, the session invited key stakeholders in the local tech ecosystem to unpack what the future of tech growth in the region looks like and, perhaps more importantly, how it can be achieved. Minister Chris Philp was joined by Utterberry CEO, Heba Bevan; Founder and CEO of Crisp, Adam Hildreth; Vice-President of Technology at IBM, Rashik Parmar; Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Leeds, Prof. Jeff Grabill; and Tech Nation’s Client Engagement Director Liz Scott to discuss the strengths of the Leeds tech ecosystem, and how digital skills partnerships and increased investment into the region will help it to continue to thrive.

You can watch the session in full HERE.

Get Started with IoT on Raspberry Pi – LeedsSharp

Rounding off our Festival highlights is the “Get Started with IoT on Raspberry Pi” session hosted by the team at LeedsSharp. Delivered by MVP John Staveley, the session instructed the audience on how to make C# code physically interact with the real world, by programming a Raspberry Pi to move things using solenoids, check sensor readings and even blow things up! The session also gave insights on how to control the Pi remotely using the cloud (Azure IoT hub).

Find out how you can use C# to remotely control your Raspberry Pi HERE.

After an incredible time hosting at this year’s Leeds Digital Festival, we can’t wait to return to the programme next year. Did you attend any of the Fruition Group’s sessions? Let us know which sessions we should be bringing back next year and what else you’d like to see from the team.