Last week I met Toby Parkins, Chief Executive of Headforwards Software in Pool, to discuss the quickly developing plans of a new Fibre Park in the area. It was welcome to see this proposal was included in the recent Camborne Town Board submission, which has just been granted by the government meaning the project will receive nearly £3.9 million to help get it across the line.
In recent years we have seen an embryonic but vibrant computer software industry taking root in this part of Cornwall. The big leap forwards came with the introduction of superfast broadband. It means that software companies can now compete around the world from a digital connection in Cornwall. Previously, people often had to choose between a high-flying job in London or the lifestyle choice of Cornwall. That's changing. Today, new industries like software producers can run world-beating operations from Camborne and Redruth offering people the best of both worlds.
The concept behind the fibre park proposal is to bring the right kind of business space within the footprint of the Cornwall College campus so that there can be work experience and training opportunities for young people. The project will create almost 7,000m2 of additional high-quality workspace at the college. This new facility will have the world-class digital connectivity required to meet the needs of one of the fastest-growing tech clusters in the UK. This will also be coupled with school outreach activities, inspiring young people to develop the digital software skills that will enable them to progress into a wide range of tech industries. Young people taking computer courses at Cornwall College will be able to develop their talents within real working environments rather than in a classroom detached from front line innovation.
The progress on the Fibre Park has been further supported by the announcement that Cornwall will be one of the first areas in the UK to receive funding from ‘Project Gigabit’ to deliver a super-fast, reliable internet connection. This new scheme will allow homes and business all over Cornwall to benefit from a super-fast internet connection, helping encourage growth and creating new jobs which will, in turn, boost regeneration.
Throughout our area, local computer software companies are now employing hundreds of people and are paying good salaries. I want to see them grow and prosper and I also want to ensure that young people taking their GCSEs are having the opportunity to learn to write computer code so that they can take up these new opportunities. The last year has seen considerable disruption for many young people and it is important that we do all we can to get their education back on track.