Minister visits Cheltenham to see first hand town’s UK cyber ambitions

Cllr Andrew McKinlay; Julia Lopez MP; Matthew Burgess (Principal Glos College) and Andy Bates (Finance Director, Glos College)
Ministor Lopez in Cheltenham

Julia Lopez MP, the Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure saw for herself Cheltenham’s progress in developing the UK cyber sector and ecosystem on her visit to the town.

The visit was hosted by Gloucestershire College, Hub8, Cheltenham Borough Council and the Western Gateway and was supported by other key stakeholders all committed to the delivery of the Golden Valley Development and the growth of cyber and creative innovation.

Last month, the Golden Valley Development (a major national infrastructure project by Cheltenham Borough Council) was cited in the UK Government’s National Cyber Strategy as a key organisation to help “foster the growth of a sustainable, innovative and internationally competitive cyber and information security sector.”

The Minister heard from stakeholders with a particular focus on how skills development and learning pathways will be transformed; nurturing and attracting high-performing talent; and supporting the growth of this sector across the UK.

This included representatives from Plexal, AWS, Cheltenham Festivals, UKC3, Universities of Bristol and Gloucestershire and Cheltenham Ladies College, who all participated in the discussion alongside local MP, Alex Chalk.

Acting as a catalyst, the project is also supporting inward investment, business relocation as well as innovation with the area’s broad church of partners.

As one of the UK’s leading cyber clusters, ‘CyNam’ is driving the growth of the regional cyber sector in Gloucestershire through initiatives and partnerships focused on innovation, skills growth and ecosystem development. CyNam’s Managing Director, Richard Yorke, is also Chair and co-founder of the UKC3, a DCMS funded national body focused on supporting cyber clusters across the country to strengthen the UK’s cyber ecosystem.

Julia Lopez said: “It’s been great meeting the cyber talent of tomorrow and to see them firsthand gaining valuable security skills.

“Cheltenham’s Golden Valley development is at the heart of our country’s cyber sector and is playing a vital role helping us achieve the ambitious plans set out in our National Cyber Strategy.”

Councillor Andrew McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Cyber and Strategic Transport, Cheltenham Borough Council said: “I’m really pleased to have welcomed Minister Lopez to Cheltenham and to showcase our ambitions to be at the heart of the UK’s cyber plans. Cheltenham has so much to offer and I’m keen to continue to work with the minister to translate those ambitions into reality over the next few years.’’

In response, Tim Atkins, Project Lead for the Golden Valley Development, said: “Cheltenham’s role in the development and delivery of the UK’s cyber mission has been strengthening over recent years. The importance of our location in particular to cyber security, innovation and development of related emerging tech has been growing at pace. The Minister of State for DCMS’s visit to Cheltenham comes at a very important time soon after the launch of the latest National Cyber Strategy.

“We hope the Minister was able to get a feel about the drive and energy behind this project and our ability to work with key partners to deliver the National Cyber Innovation Centre as part of our fast growing cyber eco-system and a key part of the country’s newest powerhouse, the Western Gateway.”