East Grinstead business leader chosen to support Digital Futures West Sussex in skills drive
Published: 05 Jan 2023
An East Grinstead business leader has been selected as a Digital Futures ambassador for the newly launched Digital Futures West Sussex programme.
Barney Durrant, director of Bluebell Digital, will be the business voice for the Digital Futures programme in Crawley and Mid Sussex, which will run through 2023, improving access to the wide range of digital careers available across the county and helping to meet the skills needs of growing businesses.
Barney has more than 20 years’ experience in the digital sector. After seven years working at Google, he set up his own digital marketing company, Bluebell Digital, in East Grinstead.
Barney said: “I’m passionate about the internet and the opportunities that digital can offer young people and those looking for a change in direction in their careers.
“As a digital marketer, my business is closely aligned with educating businesses about what they can achieve online, so this project seems like a natural fit for me. I can't wait to engage with people across the county on this vital area for our future economic development."
Barney will support the initiative alongside two other Digital Futures ambassadors: Mark Bullen, managing director of GB Electronics in Worthing, and Luke Mead, chief executive of LMS Group in Chichester.
Each ambassador brings experience and knowledge on the advanced digital skills gaps in the county and the challenges businesses currently face in recruiting tech talent, as well as the significant growth of digital industries in West Sussex.
The three Digital Futures ambassadors will play a key role in supporting businesses in their local area to attract homegrown tech talent, as well as supporting jobseekers with guidance on suitable entry routes to digital jobs and showcasing the benefits of a digital career in the county.
As managing director of Worthing-based electronics design company and manufacturer GB Electronics, Mark Bullen already works with schools and colleges in West Sussex to inspire young people to pursue careers in innovation and tech.
Mark said: “I am delighted to be chosen as an ambassador for Digital Futures West Sussex. We can certainly see considerable potential in our region and in order to maximise opportunities, it is vital to dramatically increase the profile of the digital industry.
“This will have a positive knock-on effect on inward investment, promoting more start-ups, fast-tracking company growth and presenting West Sussex as a fantastic location for established technology-orientated businesses to base themselves in.”
Having started out fixing computers in his bedroom at the age of 15, Luke Mead set up IT support company LMS Group in 2010.
Luke said: “The shortage of homegrown tech talent has always been apparent when recruiting at LMS Group. To be involved as a Digital Futures ambassador means I can share the experience I’ve gained over the past 15 years of working in tech within the county, and to showcase the benefits of building a digital career in tech within the county too.”
Digital Futures West Sussex is jointly funded by West Sussex County Council and the West Sussex Districts and Boroughs. The programme is being led by local strategic consultancy Always Possible with support from the three Digital Futures ambassadors, working in partnership with local authorities, education providers and business networks to raise awareness about the range of digital jobs available across various sectors in West Sussex.
The programme will be running multiple events across the county in 2023, starting with pop-up information hubs in January to connect jobseekers, those seeking a career change, graduates and students with trainers and businesses to showcase the opportunities available.
To find out more about Digital Futures West Sussex, please visit: www.digitalfuturesws.co.uk