For over 40 years the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) charity has been working to promote mutual understanding between Parliament and the worlds of business, industry and commerce for public benefit. It is such an important mission and I am delighted to be part of it, initially by attending events in parliament, participating in industry visits, taking part in a fellowship and ultimately joining the board as a Trustee.
In 2018 I started an IPT Fellowship. Fellowships usually last eighteen months to two years, but unfortunately, due to Covid disruption and delays, I only completed the programme this year and am set to graduate today.
Fellowships are designed to provide MPs, Peers and senior parliamentary staff with a unique insight into business and industry. This is a valuable opportunity to engage directly with businesses and experience the issues that they face first-hand. The IPT works with around 200 organisations based across the UK, ranging from FTSE 100 companies through to SMEs across a wide variety of sectors – from energy, manufacturing and aerospace to financial services, health and the media. Each Fellowship is bespoke and designed entirely around the parliamentarian’s interests and objectives. To date, over 600 parliamentarians have benefited from a Fellowship exploring issues that affect business across the UK, including topics such as skills, sustainable supply chains and corporate social responsibility.
The theme of my Fellowship is innovation. My policy interests and work in Parliament are cross sector and focussed on technology and inclusion so it has been an excellent opportunity to visit and meet so many organisations from such a broad range of sectors and business models but always with innovation as a starting point for discussion. I have been interested in each organisations development priorities, whether that means predictions about cloud services and cloud infrastructure or supply chain processes. My other particular areas of interest are digital identity, distributed ledger technology (DLT)/blockchain, cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity, infrastructure, accessibility and inclusion – and I have been able to learn from a varied list of organisations: from Adobe, Athena, BAE, Blockworks Group, DHL International, Google, Imagination Technologies, Inmarsat, TechUK, TikTok, Mastercard, NCC Group, Rolls Royce, Surrey University to Octopus Group.
I am grateful to all the organisations, and individuals within them, and IPT staff for facilitating all the meetings, visits and briefings. It has been incredibly illuminating and such an important opportunity to think about a variety of challenges and opportunities. I am able to take all that information on board to then apply lessons to what policy commitments and regulatory reforms are required to ensure UK Plc truly thrives.