Re-watch: Future of FinTech - Talent & Skills with James Caan CBE

BY Scott Millward   |  

Re-watch: Future of FinTech – Talent & Skills 26/11


On the 26th November the northern FinTech community gathered to discuss talent and skills within FinTech. Matt Burton Associates were please to co-host in partnership with our friends at FinTech North.

For those who could not join the event live, we have produced a recording of the session. Click here to watch the recording, including the panel discussion. 

Joe Roche, Engagement Manager at FinTech North, welcomed attendees to the event and explained more about the work FinTech North does bringing the Northern FinTech Community together.

Julian Wells, Director at Whitecap Consulting and FinTech North, proceeded to compere the session, setting the scene for attendees that he sees the fundamentals of FinTech coming down to Money and People.

We welcomed James Caan CBE as our first speaker. James is an entrepreneur, investor and former Dragon with a background in recruitment, founding Alexander Mann. James explained the importance of talent and leadership.

“The key ingredient for success was down to the ability to track the right talent and leadership” James Caan CBE

James also stressed the importance of attracting diverse talent, saying that “a business should reflect the community it operates in”. We asked James if he could highlight common faults he identifies when speaking to entrepreneurs;

“People are really important, products don’t sell themselves. If they can’t identify 5 people to join them, that puts me off.” – James Caan

We then heard from Amul Batra, Chief Partnerships Officer at Northcoders. Amul explained the work Northcoders do, initially starting as a coding bootcamp in 2016, they have since progressed to providing professional development for those graduating.

Northcoders aim to address not only the skills gap in the North, but also the diversity within tech and FinTech, encouraging people from any background to develop the skills to work in tech. Northcoders have now graduated over 700 people, with 97% landing in tech roles and within 12-18 months progressing to a senior level, including one success story

“We teach people to teach themselves to code” – Amul Batra, Chief Partnerships Officer, Northcoders

Our next speaker was Stuart Finnerty, Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. Stuart began with an anecdote about a bank in London with a technology project. Their first step, as we know, was to get colourful beanbags, a pool-table, some sweets. Into this environment they dragged their best bankers and recruited some IT specialists to work together on a project. The bankers and the tech specialists couldn’t speak to one another.

MMU aims to solve such problems with it’s FinTech qualifications, producing graduates who are able to talk to both sides.

“The programme aims to focus on a core understanding” – Stuart Finnerty, Senior Lecturer FinTech MSc, Manchester Metropolitan University

Stuart said that going forward, MMU are making their programme modular, so that students can study their MSc from anywhere.

“I want our graduates crossing the floor, not to trip over the beanbags, and to speak to both sides.” – Stuart Finnerty

Patrice Gordon, Inclusivity Thought-Leader, NED Ignata, Executive Coach & Founder of Eminere, was our next speaker. Patrice outlined inclusivity in FinTech and took a deep dive into what inclusivity is.

“It is really important when setting up your business for success, to establish policies that will welcome a diverse range of people to work together effectively.” – Patrice Gordon, Inclusivity Thought-Leader, NED Ignata, Executive Coach & Founder of Eminere

Focus points and take-away points for Patrice were:

  • Cast your net wider
  • Fast recruitment isn’t necessarily great recruitment
  • Thought around what makes your organisation special
  • Team dynamics
  • Comparable benefits

Patrice talked about protected characteristics; for example, thinking about festivals such as thanksgiving, Diwali, Ramadan – a policy that allows for people to celebrate their religion and culture will make a big difference.

Our speakers then gathered for a panel discussion, and were joined by Manila Mclean, Chief Information Officer at Newcastle Strategic Solutions and Matt Burton, CEO of MBA.

Manila gave an overview of her background and explained how NSS provide out-sourced savings solutions for banks and building societies. NSS service around 1.5m customers, with 15 banks. Manila has grown her team by 20-25% this year, bringing in new and different skills sets and evolving the diversity in the team.

“We need to ensure we promote the new tech we are working on and the variety of customers they can impact” – Manila Mclean, Chief Information Officer, Newcastle Strategic Solutions.

Matt Burton, CEO of MBA, closed the event with his takeaways:

  • Recruitment processes; have a keen eye for transforming this process
  • Consider hiring now for next year
  • We are seeing the prevalence of a personal voice as integral to effective recruitment

To re-watch the event including the panel discussion, please click here.

Our sincere thanks go out to all of our speakers for sharing their insight and expertise. Thanks also to Fintech North for supporting us with this event and we look forward to continuing to support the FinTech community moving forward.

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