Agility Works @agilityworks come over to @UTCMediaCityUK to inspire our students

AgilityWorks are a leading UK based consulting practice with a passion to help their clients deliver substantive business improvement through successful application and technology solution deployment.

They have bases all around the world and centralised UK offices in Manchester and Oxford. We here at UTCMediaCityUK are very lucky to have had one of their designers over to inspire our students.

AgilityWorks believe that innovation is critical for the “digital” enterprise and many of their customer projects have been recognised as market leading. Their mission: Is to help every customer implement agile enterprise solutions that deliver substantive business improvement.

In many respects – we at UTC@MediaCityUK share their vision. We are all about innovation in education and about how we help our students gain the very best advantage that our connections in the digital industries can provide them.

So it was lovely to have Anthony Cook UX/UI Designer at AgilityWorks, come over and inspire our students with his wisdom. An opportunity he relished as he says:

“Thanks for welcoming me this afternoon and allowing me to engage with your students. It gave me the opportunity to talk about the role that I perform and how important it is when producing any kind of interactive media.”

Antony from AgilityWorks pic 6

This is what we here at UTC@MediaCityUK are all about – we want to make sure our students be that in film and TV, radio and sound, graphics and animation or mobile gaming and interactive media. All have a solid understanding of the real world and real work environments. We strive to engage with our students and teach them things that they will use in the real world and make sure they understand the realities of working in the industry they want to come into.

We have some amazing students. As Antony says:

I was really impressed with the work they have produced, in only a couple of weeks. Its encouraging to see so many talented kids.

Thanks again to Antony and to AgilityWorks whom we would love to work with again in the future. We are hoping next that a couple of lucky students will be doing a site visit and maybe even work experience in the summer. With a live brief competition to be held at UTCMediaCityUK to maybe decide this.

Watch this space….

Is your child finding there school is not for them? Is it not digital or technical enough? Would you like them to study their A Level’s in a college like no other – with industry led professionals and state of the art facilities? Apply to UTCMediaCityUK and they can study their A-levels alongside one of our four technical specialist courses.

Click here –

Places are free but limited due to the high number of applications we receive.

Featured post

Did you know we have limited spaces available for our amazing courses @UTCMediaCityUK?  

Sharon helping with the resultsCongratulations to all our prospective Year 12 students who achieved the entry criteria for our Level 3 BTEC/A Level courses and are joining us in September.


Unfortunately, a small number of students did not achieve the necessary GCSE grades for our Level 3 courses.


Whilst we are looking into putting on Level 2 courses for these students, it does now mean that we have a small number of places available on some of our A Level and Level 3 Technical courses.


If you wish to enquire about a Level 2 course as an access to Level 3 then get in touch as we are considering this. If you are keen to apply now for Level 3 get in touch or walk in today.


If you are interested in finding out more and/or applying to UTC@MediaCityUK, please call 01616613947 or email:


UTC@MediaCityUK are delighted to celebrate our first set of GCSE results #GCSE2017

The UTC@MediaCityUK are delighted to celebrate our first set of GCSE results. In the first year of the new, more challenging examinations in GCSE English Language and Literature and Maths, half of the UTC’s first Year 11 cohort to sit examinations, gained a GCSE grade 4 or above in English and Mathematics.

Notably, over 40% of the English grades were above the GCSE grade 5 for English. This continues the success of results in English for Year 13 last week. A quarter of all Maths grades were grade 5 or above.

NicoleThe UTC specialism of Digital and Creative Media continued the success of last week’s BTEC results with 91% of students gaining this vocational qualification. 30% of all grades were at Distinction or Distinction* grade. The most common grade awarded to students was a Merit, the equivalent of a grade B at GCSE.

Most of our students have opted to continue their studies at the UTC@MediaCityUK for post-16 study, with a number of students choosing an A Level to complement their BTEC specialism.

Examples of great individual achievements include Nicole Maylett (pictured above) who achieved 9 GCSEs with impressive grades, including a Distinction* for BTEC in Creative and Digital Media, an A in Chemistry GCSE and a 9 in the new GCSE English Language.

AlexNicole is continuing her studies with a BTEC Level 3 at the UTC in Film and TV, alongside A Level study.

Alex Sherlock (pictured) also received his results today, including a 9 in the new English Language GCSE and a Distinction* for BTEC in Creative and Digital Media. Alex is continuing his studies with a BTEC Level 3 at the UTC in Interactive Media and Gaming, alongside A Level study.


HusseinHussein Abu Rabia (pictured) joined the UTC in Year 10 and swiftly decided he wanted to pursue Science at post-16.

Hussein has achieved As in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, with high grades in his other subjects too.

He is going to study at Xaverian College now and hopes to pursue a degree in Medicine at university.

SamSam Hawkins (pictured) also achieved 9 GCSEs with high grades, including As in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, along with a Distinction* for BTEC in Creative and Digital Media and is continuing to study at the UTC in September.

Sharon Gardner, Principal of the UTC said:

“I am extremely proud of this first set of results. It is a fantastic reflection of the amazing commitment we have from all our students and staff here. The experience students gain at the UTC@MediaCityUK not only develops their skills and learning, but enables them to set their sights on their overall destination early on. It is refreshing to see so many young students knowing clearly what they want to do at this stage and allows staff to support and guide them throughout that journey.”

the hughes family picturedThe Hughes family (pictured) also celebrated their results today with twins Charlotte and David collecting GCSE results, alongside older brother Kieran. All 3 achieved strong results in their GCSEs, including Distinctions in their BTEC in Creative and Digital Media. David and Kieran intend to stay at the UTC to pursue a Level 3 BTEC alongside A Level study. Charlotte is progressing to Xaverian College as she intends to pursue a degree in Medicine with her As in Biology and Chemistry. She also achieved an A in History and a Distinction* in her BTEC Creative and Digital Media with a 7 and 8 in Maths and English.

Lozenzo LensflareLorenzo Rodriguez (pictured) has been offered an apprenticeship with Lens Flare TV as a result of a successful summer internship and his high quality portfolio from his BTEC in Creative and Digital Media. Lorenzo is planning to continue his Level 3 BTEC study at the UTC as part of his apprenticeship.

As Dan Sodergren, Employment Engagement Manager said: “The UTC@MediaCityUK is very fortunate to receive support from a range of local employers, who provide realistic projects for students and work with the UTC to ensure its curriculum meets industry needs.”  

With widely reported skills shortages in both the digital and creative industries, the UTC aims to train confident, highly competent individuals to fill the roles of the future.

Key to the ethos and values of any UTC is industry links and the destinations to which our students can progress. We are very proud of the fact that 100% of our students leaving Year 11 are progressing to employment, education or training, including 6 apprenticeships and a student who is joining the Royal Air Force.

UTC@MediacityUK wishes to thank its sponsors and partners including: Aldridge Education, Salford University, The Lowry Theatre, The Landing, BBC, ITV and Captive North. We would also like to thank Webantic, Dreamr, Sheila Bird Group, Barclays Eagle Labs and Informed Solutions, amongst others, for their fantastic engagement and support.

The UTC@MediaCityUK’s next Open Day is on Thursday 19 October 2017 for Y10 students and Monday 30 October for Y12 students. For more information, visit:

Amazing Employers Love What We Do – But Would You Too?

We are very lucky here at UTC@MediaCityUK as we work with over 70 different employers and employee partner organisations. By doing so we give our college a unique selling point. As part of the UTC movement.

We get employer engagement – employers engage with us on a number of different levels.

Be that coming in doing talks, doing industry lead workshops, letting our students come into their offices, even doing work experience and doing our UTC@MediaCityUK Live Briefs. 

All this employment engagement makes us a college like no other…

But we can’t take the credit for the inspiration that our employer partners give to our students. They give their time for free. They come to us and work with us without any financial compensation. Our employer partners give their time to invest in the next generation.

They know that doing so makes a difference.

Not just to their businesses (by securing part of their employee pipeline) but also to the ecosystem of Greater Manchester as whole.

Our employers engagement partners also love what our students do for them. Which is great news. So here our some of our great partners giving some us some glowing testimonials. 

All in the key areas where we excel as a college.In the creation of young minds that want to work, have the skills to work and that are technical as well as creative and produce great digital work. Not necessarily in pure traditional exam results…

On content creation: 

“The students at UTC@MediaCityUk made a great promotional film for Youth Day which we are continually using in our marketing to promote our project for Salford Council.

We would love to work with them again.”

Testimonial from Atul from Shelia Bird Group




Our students of work experience: 

“The work experience students from UTC were top notch, eager to work and to understand our business.

We would definitely take some again.”

Atul of SheliaBird

Testimonial from James Medd





With our focus groups… 

“The standard of ideas and work is always amazing. So much so that I can safely say… I would always be happy to work with students from @UTC”

James Medd from The Landing 



Testimonial from Mylo from DreamR

With our Live Briefs… 

“The mobile games they made were amazing. Industry standard.

It’s a real credit to the teaching staff and college what they have achieved.”

Mylo from DreamR



Testimonial from TAA



With holding events at UTC@MediaCityUK 

The UTC Media City students were an absolute pleasure to work with.

Enthusiastic, competent and autonomous they brought a fresh energy to both the event we held at UTC@MediaCityUK. And the resulting content they produced for us.

Hannah from The Advertising Association

Testimonial from Joe from Bearded Fellows.png


With teaching our students: 

“Teaching the young people at @UTC was an honor and a great opportunity and a lot of fun for us as they were such a talented bunch.

We look forward to working with them in the future.”



If you would like to become a partner with UTC@MediaCityUK and become one of our partners – as happy with the people above – then click here. 







UTC@MediaCityUK – Class of 2017

Today, we were delighted to celebrate the hard work and success of our first ever Year 13 cohort, the class of 2017.

The UTC is about to enter its third year as a college for Digital and Creative study for 14-19 year-olds in MediaCity, Manchester.

60% of our students are progressing to university whilst the remaining students have largely secured employment or apprenticeships. All of our students studied for a 3 A Level equivalent BTEC qualification with all entries achieving at least a pass. We are delighted with our 100% success rate, but even more that a superb 63% of students achieved at least a triple Merit, whilst 39% of all grades were Distinction or Distinction*

Principal Sharon Gardner noted: “The most common outcome for students was D*D*D* which is a fantastic achievement for students in our first year of results.”

Students also took A Levels in English Language and Literature, Creative Writing, Maths, Physics and Computer Science, with 100% of learners passing Creative Writing and 94% of learners passing the English Literature and Language qualification.

Our students are progressing to a range of exciting destinations. Whilst most students are pursuing employment, training or University to continue their study in Creative and Digital Media, some students are pursuing more traditional degrees in English, Maths and Computer Science. We will be publishing a full list of destinations on our website in due course.

Here are just some of the stories of our first BTEC and A Level cohort from the UTC. We look forward to welcoming them all back on Wednesday 1 November 2017 for our first ever Awards Evening for UTC Alumni.

We are delighted that several of our UTC students have been accepted at Ravensbourne College and University of Arts, Bournemouth  (including Ethan Holden and Shakeel Patel pictured), both of which are highly competitive centres for digital and creative media degree courses.

Another group of students including, Trisha Mistry and Georgina Deignan, (pictured) will be attending Manchester Film School to study for a degree in Film Production.

Other destinations include Leeds Beckett University to study Television and Film Production degrees, plus a number of UTC students will be progressing to our sponsor Salford University, to study a range of courses from Computer Science to English Literature and Games Design.

We also have students joining FutureWorks, Manchester, for degree courses in Gaming.


Rachel Nicholls (pictured) achieved 3 D*** and 2 Bs in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature. She will be studying English & Creative Writing at Bangor University.

emily B.jpg

Emily Burrows studied for the equivalent of 5 A Levels and is going to Oxford University to study Japanese at Pembroke College, which she hopes will complement her BTEC in Interactive Media and Gaming and support her planned future career in the gaming industry.


Jess Gallery (pictured) achieved D*D*D* in her BTEC and has been successful in gaining an apprenticeship with the BBC (where there were 6,000 applicants for only a few roles.)

Klaudia Kirkpatrick (pictured) who achieved a D*** and an A in Creative Writing has secured employment with Flix. Matt Tiplady (pictured) achieved D*DD grades and has secured employment at ITV.


Corey Mills and Gabi Sutton both achieved D*D*D* in their BTEC and are off to Staffordshire University to study Gaming and Broadcast Journalism respectively.

A number of other students, including Isaac Chohan, Connor Harris, Charlie Pearson and Jarred Milner are studying for apprenticeships in ICT, Video Production, Digital Media, and Marketing.

We are delighted with the achievements of our first cohort of students and look forward to hearing of their successes as they progress in their career as the first ever UTC@MediaCityUK alumni. They have been truly unstoppable.



#EmployersMatter so a BIG thank you to you all from @UTCMediaCityUk

Here at UTC@MediacityUK we are helping empower our students to learn the skills today for tomorrow’s digital world. But we cannot do this, in the best way we believe, without the help and input from our employer supporters.

And we are very grateful to have lots of them….

Why so many supporters and partners?

This is as we work in the creative and digital sector. Which is continuing growing and changing and so has many different specialisms and facets. So we need as many different supporters and partners as possible.

Unlike other more engineering based UTC’s that might only really need 1 or 2. We have lots of different businesses we work with over Greater Manchester. We have a HUGE supporter and partner network.

These supporters and partners get to pick to do a variety of different things with us. Normally by way of this clever TypeForm – which we use to ask potential employee partners what they can commit to doing over the year.

“Each employee partner or supporter can do as little or as much as they like. Be that a 20 minute talk or a huge client project covering several courses and terms.” Dan Sodergren

Many of our employer supporters find that working with our students benefits them in a number of different ways.

It can:

– Help them with more public speaking practice for example

– Give them a great positive feeling of giving something back.

– Let’s them advertise what they do to the next generation (helping their talent pipeline for the future)

– Gets the a nice positive social media push and some actionable PR from the work

– Be a way for them to tap into the millennial consciousness. If they do a focus group with the young people (as a couple of clever tech agencies and the BBC have done.)


Why do we do what we do with employers at UTC@MediaCityUK?

One reason is that we want to give the young people as many different employer encounters as possible.

As research by Professor Anthony Mann at Education & Employers Taskforce proves that students with 4 employer encounters are 86% less likely to become NEET.

Another reason is that such exposure to live briefs and work experience means that our student’s confidence rises. And with that studies have shown that with this confidence that annual salaries can go up by £2,500 by the time students are aged 19-23.

So by doing different amount of employer engagements over the year for the 4 different ages groups – aged 14 – 18. We help them increase their confidence. Get to ask entrepreneurs and potential employers the right questions. Work with and for their employers of the future. AND make sure they don’t fall out of the education system when they leave.

However, NONE of this is possible without our employer partners and no matter what they do with us be that:

  • an inspirational talk for 20 mins
  • be a judge for a campaign
  • give us their expertise for a workshop,
  • or a live brief for their clients
  • or even just have a few students come over to see their workplace.
  • Or give them the opportunity to work with you for work experience.

All of it makes a difference. #EmployersMatter.

No matter if you are a HUGE organisation like the BBC and ITV, serious companies like banks like Barclays, or a smaller creative digital agencies like PRWD or Return. Or a business just starting up like RooCru. As small startups can grow up to be mighty unicorns. You are all important to UTC@MediaCityUK. Each and every one of you.

Thank you to all our employee partners and supporters.

Here is our list of our many of the creative and digital Manchester employer supporters. All of them we have worked with over the last year at UTC@MediaCityUK. If you are on this – a personalised thank you should be coming over social media to you soon.

And if you would like to be on this list for next term – then do contact me on and we can see what we can do.

Or be pro-active with this link to the clever form. Which asks you as potential employee partners what you can commit to doing over the next year. It only takes a few clicks.

Here’s to working with you post our September half term.

We have some amazing live briefs and a plan for next half term already.

The great Greater Manchester digital and tech creative companies we have worked with so far:

With Work Experience Opportunities for our students:

  • Informed Solutions
  • NeverNo
  • The Landing
  • BBC
  • SheliaBird
  • Mc2
  • PRWD
  • He-Inventions
  • Eagle Labs Salford
  • Webantic
  • Dreamr
  • ITV
  • Gas Music
  • Youth Charter

On Live Briefs: Projects that give our students real world experience.

  • Book Of The Future
  • Great Marketing Works
  • Radio 5 Live
  • BBC Digital
  • SheliaBird
  • Radio 5 Live
  • The Lowry
  • RooCru
  • Book Of The Future
  • Keep It Useable
  • Magnetic North
  • Factory Create
  • Barclays
  • Studio Liddell
  • Gas Music
  • Phi Games
  • Derian House
  • Captive North
  • BBC Radio 4

Workshops – to teach our students top tips for the industry from:

  • Tangerine PR
  • Bearded Fellows
  • BBC
  • Super Duper Media Group
  • Unity Radio
  • Captive North
  • University of Salford
  • University of Huddersfield

Been on Tours with:

  • Webantic
  • Candii
  • Renegade Fortress
  • The Lowry
  • Dock 10
  • Mc2
  • BBC
  • ITV
  • The Landing
  • Foundry Films
  • Captive North

Had inspirational talks from CEO’s from:

  • PRWD
  • Tunafish Media
  • NorthCoder
  • Gas Music
  • Super Duper Media Group
  • Hewson Consultants
  • Stephen Hey ex Chillango
  • Youth Charter
  • Six and Flow
  • 77 Group
  • BlueBeck
  • Tangerine PR
  • DreamR
  • Return On Digital
  • Tech North Advocates
  • Founders 4 schools
  • My2Be

In Longer Working (TBC) Projects:

  • Salford Council
  • Barclays
  • BBC Taster
  • BBC Digital
  • Art with Heart
  • Youth Charter
  • The Landing
  • Captive North

Potential partners to work with (sometimes again) next year….

  • Wakelet
  • Webantic
  • Informed Solutions
  • MediaComm
  • 77 Group
  • Apadmi
  • Studio Liddell
  • Dreamr
  • CodeComputerLove
  • NorthCoders
  • SheliaBird
  • Mc2
  • PRWD

We will leave the end of this blog to one of our employer partners who gave us this great quote 🙂

“If you want to make a real and practical different to your business then be an enlightened employer and work with UTC@MediaCityUK”

Liz Vega Global CEO of Informed Solutions.

If you would like to be an enlightened employers please fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

Trump VS. Tampons How to be the last one standing.

“Advertising has the power to change minds.” ITV’s Business Development Director Jason Spencer announced to the crowd.

The Advertising Association have a popular debate series ‘Last One Standing’. Four speakers had to pitch their point of view before the audience decided who was the ‘Last One Standing’?

The series is normally held in London, however they chose to trial the event in the North West. They chose the UTC@MediaCityUK as its venue. Sponsored by ITV and the Manchester Publicity Association.

The host of the evening, Heart Radio’s Russ Morris said:

“It’s a real honour to be presenting the first #AALOS outside of London here in Salford.”

Which ITV’s Jason Spencer agreed with:

“It’s so fantastic having the UTC@MediaCityUK get behind us. It’s great to bring the best events in London into the North West.”

The event was an incredible opportunity for the UTC@MediaCityUK. The event drew in a large crowd. Allowing us to show off our fantastic facilities and welcome in some of the top Manchester agencies. The events atmosphere was also commented on for being friendlier and cheekier. Compared with the London version.

‘Last One Standing’ is part of the Advertising Associations’ effort to attract and engage a younger industry audience. .

In attendance were also some of our students. The Ad Association were passionate about getting our students as involved with the event as possible. And they didn’t let us down! Our students took photographs of the debate. They ran with microphones for the question and answer. They also filmed and interviewed key organisers and speakers from the event. Jason Spencer commented that:

“It’s so great to see so many students filming and getting stuck in.”

We were so proud and they were excellent ambassadors for the UTC@MediaCityUK.

“The UTC@MediaCityUK’s students were an absolute pleasure to work with. Enthusiastic, competent and autonomous. They brought a fresh energy to both the event we held at the UTC@MediaCityUK and the resulting content they produced for us.”

Hannah Vaskdekys, Head of Content – Advertising Association

The speakers were challenged to pitch: ‘The most impactful advertising campaign of the last 100 years.’

The debaters were:

Rebecca Brett, TBWA Manchester
Chrissy Kuharcuk, AO
K’Dee Melfi, ITV
Georgia Penny, Media Com

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The final debate was between Brett and Kuharcuk. Brett pitched Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign VS. Kuharcuk with Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign. Both ladies raised such interesting points. Such as:

Trump’s campaign having impacts on: music, fashion and lifestyle choices.

Always’ hashtag #likeagirl becoming a statement of empowerment.

Chrissy Kuharcuk was the winner and finished with this final statement.

“Empowerment. The moment I realised nobody was going to define who I am as a negative. It gave me the power to embrace what it means to be like a girl.”

Our students engaged so much with the event. They learnt about the power of commercial advertising. Had the opportunity to network across different sectors of the industry. And the outcome of the debate also had such an enlightening message for our students. That actually to have the most impactful campaign, you don’t have to be a bully with power. But instead have a powerful message that fills your audience with empowerment.

Women in Tech and the North West Time Bomb


For years London has dominated every industry. Yet, interest is bubbling around the North West as it takes on London in the digital and tech industry. Recent announcements including:

  • BBC creating 200 new jobs in Media City UK
  • Andy Burnham’s plans for new initiatives including a £2m digital skills fund
  • And the £1bn plan to double the size of Media City UK

These have all created buzz for the region and its tech industry. The North West sounds like the place to be for tech; but is it the place to be for women in tech?
Last week the UTC@MediaCityUK hosted a round table event. To talk about women working in tech across the North West. The first thing noted (apart from the ample supply of pastries) was the awesomeness of these women.
The women, who participated in the discussion, are all major campaigners for diversity. Some also work for some of the biggest tech companies in the North, or are female founders.

With everybody working across the North West it is clear that these women are proud of the cities they work in. Manchester has always had a history of being an advocate for tech advancement.

“Manchester was the pin point for the Industrial Revolution”

Kirsty Styles from Tech North announced across the table. Backed by DreamR’s Lynne Makinson-Walsh who added:

“If we’re talking about women of the North, this is the place of Emmeline Pankhurst!”.

This pride for Pankhurst keeps cropping up at events for women.

Jo Morfee from Liverpool Girl Geeks teaches women “How to be a bad-ass!” training them resilience and negotiation. Is this why Pankhurst’s name is coming up more and more, that women now need to be more resilient than ever? Or is it because women in tech are still outnumbered? Is it because successful men in tech like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg grab more media attention and have become the pinups of tech?
Do women in tech feel like they need to be part of a revolution and this is why a revolutionary from nearly a century ago is so current?
In Manchester we are seeing the rise of companies that back women, and have women in key leadership roles. Patricia Keating, UK Fast believes that this is

“the key to the success of Manchester. All the SME’s that are growing really successfully like DreamR, Webantic, etc. that have really powerful passionate people. They were started by men, but men who are advocates for women.”

Does this lack of visible female figures in tech then feed down to less women considering a career in tech? “SheSays” Singapore’s regular event series reported that 74% of girls express an interest in STEM and Computer Science. Only 18% of undergraduates take computer science degrees. And, only 26% of computing jobs are held by women.
Here at the UTC@MediaCityUK, our head of Computer Science is a woman, Becci Peters. Yet, our own in-house statistics suggest that Becci is an exception to the trend. Out of our current Year 12s (16-17 year olds) only 1 student out of a class of 20 is a female.
So how should we be encouraging young women to be engaging with tech?
Tegan Jones who is part of Northern Voices suggested that

“Young people can’t see that end result. They need to see people working in tech to inspire them.”

Anna Holland-Smith a software developer for the BBC agreed. Suggesting

“Early industry exposure and early introduction to female role models is key. Coming to the BBC, meeting the people, seeing and getting hands on experience illustrates that their A Level in Computer Science can translate to this career. It is all about seeing the end product.”

So is this what we should be investing our money and time in as a college? Do we need to spend less time in the classroom teaching our students how to do things? Instead show them what they could be doing and who they could be working with?

Maya Dibley from The Landing, brought up that

“Boys are encouraged to break the rules and be naughty from a young age. However girls are taught to do well, and need to stay within the lines and tick the boxes.”

But, by having diversity in companies it is proven that better decisions are made. Better products are built, and companies are more sustainable.

So is this a case for not separating women and men in tech? Developing our relationships of women and men working together in tech? And instead tackling another huge problem; that is class divisions in tech.
Having the UTC@MediaCityUK we are between two very juxtaposing locations. Media City UK is a multi-million-pound establishment, with some of the richest companies having bases here. Yet we also are on the edges of one of the most deprived areas within the UK.
The UTC@MediaCityUK has the unique chance to teach and develop young people in fields like tech.

“There’s lots going on in Manchester, there’s lots of money coming in and opportunity. But there is a time bomb and I’m worried that they won’t be as interested in 2 years’ time unless we can live up to the hype.” Maya Dibley.

However; as Kirsty Devlin Webantic pointed out

“Manchester has the history and culture; but compared to cities like Berlin, we don’t tell anyone.”

So is it a case for encouraging our students to realise that they are in one of the most exciting places at one of the most exciting times?

Rebecca Taylor from CLOS Consultancy praised Manchester for having “fantastic community support”. In our own UTC@MediaCityUK community we hope that we can support our students to take advantage of where they are. Encourage them to take the chance whether they are male or female. But always support one another.

The UTC@MediaCityUK will be hosting the “Together in Tech” event at the beginning of November.


Collaboration: Do we do this enough in the #Manchester #tech community?  

By Dan Sodergren 

I wasn’t taught at school to collaborate. I was taught to work by myself. To pass exams. To be successful. On my own. To not pass notes. And from what I understood from school. Collaborators were the bad people in history.

They were “collaborators”.

Today, however, in the tech world – collaboration has become a powerful buzz word – and a must do. But should we all collaborate?

First let’s define collaboration.

So what’s collaboration?

  1. the action of working with someone to produce something.
  2. traitorous cooperation with an enemy.

Isn’t it interesting that the definition of it – holds the two contrasting points. Both positive and negative*. My preferred definition, from Ephraim Freed, is a simpler on which is “collaboration” is:

“Two or more people working together towards shared goals.”

It’s simple but effective. Such simplicity is desperately needed as “collaboration” has become an overly-hyped term. This preferred simple definition includes three parts:

  1. Two or more people (team)
  2. Working together (processes)
  3. Towards shared goals (purpose)

This definition provides a simple and solid framework for understanding. For starters, collaboration takes place in teams.

A big group of people using social software together. This doesn’t mean they are a collaboration. It may be a conversation. It may be curation. It may be cooperation. It might even be knowledge sharing. But it is not a collaboration.

Why does this matter?

In Manchester collaboration in and between tech companies is being called for. But the purpose i.e. the reason why is not always shared between them. I would argue then that this is not collaboration.

Last year, the Manchester Evening News said we needed more collaboration. And highlighted Media City as a key place already doing this. Which is true. But does Media City have a shared purpose?

Places like The Landing and UTC@MediacityUK might collaborate. Particularly, on ideas like “live briefs” where The Landing sets tasks for the students of UTC. This IS classic collaboration.

BUT… does the whole place collaborate?

Other articles written last year, expounded about the need for more collaboration. In the MPA touting “collaboration and innovation in Manchester.” And how Greater Manchester has only just started citing ideas like:

“Cisco working with Manchester Science Partnerships to open a new innovation hub – Mi-DEA. The planned expansion of MediaCityUK and the construction of more digital, creative and fintech centres.” Are all collaborative.

All these things have come to pass – and more. We now have lots of places for collaboration.

But why should we collaborate?

One of the reasons is financial. As more we collaborate with each other the more productive we will become. And this has a bottom line implication. As according to a new report from Tech North. The tech economy in the north of England can grow to £5.7 billion through better collaboration between tech clusters.

Whilst these initiatives such as:

All contribute to enriching the tech, creative and digital sector in Greater Manchester. Are they all working in collaboration?

And do new ideas from non tech companies like UKFast around mentoring help the ecosystem? Are they collaborative? They speak about collaborating. As Tech Manchester is meant to be:

“A place for the tech community to engage and collaborate. Driving economic growth and raising the city’s profile on an international scale.”

Is this true? Only time will tell.

Talking don’t make it so…

We have to remember that talking together doesn’t mean collaborating. Communication is a start but it is not the end goal.

As our round tables at UTC@MediaCityUK have proven – they are just the start.

For them to do more we have to all collaborate together to create something new. We hope we will.

As ZDnet put it in its white paper. The difference between communication and collaboration is:

“One is a simple exchange of information. The other is the co-creation of shared outcomes that are richer than they would be otherwise. Because the participants respond to learning and insight during the process itself.”

Should tech companies be more collaborative?

Should the creative industries do more joint ventures partnerships and work together?

Do we in business have a shared goal and a shared responsibility to make Manchester and the UK better? Or are we paying lip service to the ideal. Remember communication is NOT collaboration.

What do you think?

Over to you to collaborate with this article.

And if you would like to collaborate with us collaborators in education – at UTC@MediaCityUK – do be in touch.

*In modern tech and digital communities, collaboration is taken as the vanguard. It is number one. The first definition. Seen as the one true light. Something that has to be done to be successful. Those who are seen not to collaborate are sometimes alienated, I can tell you from experience.

Great work as @GasIsMusic is commissioned by @MarketingManchester to market Manchester.

Gas Music, one of our employer engagement supporters at UTC@MediaCityUK, who have sourced many live briefs with us and helped our students with lots of work experience. Has been asked to produce a soundtrack for a special commission film by Marketing Manchester.

This piece by produced by GAS Music  is called Manchester. The Original Modern City.

The 84-second film reveals the “vibrancy, history, creativity and diversity” of the city to the first-time visitor. Working with The Neighbourhood and Marketing Manchester, GAS translated the soundtrack into a Modern Family Unit track.

Watch it here:

GAS Music, based in The Landing, have been instrumental in helping our young students here and so we love the fact they were chosen to help make: ‘Manchester. The Original Modern City.’

If you would like to be like Gas and work with us here at UTC@MediaCityUK then be in touch. Email Dan Sodergren on 

Want to know more about Gas Music – contact them on twitter at

Blog at

Up ↑