By Nigel Watson, Northumbrian Water Group’s Director of Information Services

Today, I spent some time talking with the students taking part in our Teenager’s Bedroom of the Future sprint about what the challenges are that we face as a business and how we go about delivering innovation.

Also, we talked about what kind of skills we will need in the future.

Earlier this year, Northumbrian Water Group helped to launch the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, with the aim of filling more than 220,000 roles by 2027, so there’s a real challenge ahead and these are the types of people we need to be engaging.

At 17-years and above, they will be joining the workforce in the next couple of years, so I talked with them about the need for skills such as maths, science and infosecurity, but also the importance of retaining those creative and problem solving skills.

Artificial intelligence might creep in and take away some job types, but those sorts of skills are going to remain hugely important in our sector.

We also welcomed Peter Bourke, CIO of CKI, and he was incredibly impressed by what we are doing here and is keen to see this sort of activity played out across the group. That’s something we should all be very proud of and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the NWG Innovation Festival for their contribution in that.

I’ve also been dipping in and out of the sprints to see how we are getting on, in terms of being ready for Friday and having great ideas in place.

Without wanting to give too much away, there are going to be three or four blockbuster ideas that will make people sit up and say “wow”. It’s all building up to be a fantastic back end of the week, so keep an eye on social media, the NWG internal channels and innovationfestival.org, for more updates.