As Master of the 100th Livery Company of the City of London, and the one at the cutting edge of the most important contemporary scientific and technological developments, I take the role very seriously. The professions we represent have had the most far reaching effects on the population of the planet, in terms of technological breakthroughs, access to the internet and, for example, in the prevention of cyber-crime. Indeed, our age has been described as the fourth industrial revolution and the WCIT sits at the very heart of everything that enhances our modern way of life.
The Lord Mayor Elect, Alderman Peter Estlin knows this only too well and the theme of his Mayoralty will be, ‘Shaping Tomorrow’s City Today’. He will wish to ensure that the City of London has the highest level of connectivity on the planet; he will want to reinforce the City of London’s and its Commissioner of Police, Ian Dyson’s, mission to ensure that the City remains the safest place in which to live, work, study and visit. The Lord Mayor Elect’s three key objectives are:
1. Promoting digital innovation alongside financial and related professional services, supporting a thriving economy, growing trade and increasing prosperity
2. Championing digital skills: contributing to a flourishing society, promoting the City of London Corporation’s digital skills strategy and enhancing the pipeline of digital skilled talent
3. Addressing digital and social inclusion, again, contributing to a flourishing society, widening social mobility and creating an opportunity for all.
The WCIT in common with all the City Livery Companies, have as their primary objective the support of the Lord Mayor and the Civic City. Through our unique skills-sets, as Information Technologists, we are ideally placed to assist the next Lord Mayor in promulgating and achieving his objectives. So, it will come as no surprise, that my primary objective will be to support the Lord Mayor in maintaining London’s pre-eminence through technological innovation.
My second key objective will be to develop our education programme. Young people are future information technologists and cyber security specialists which the UK will need in tens of thousands. It is our duty as a Livery Company to invest in them. Only through education con we hope to make our country more cyber aware, for instance and to be digitally competent. In this context, I am particularly proud to have been one of the four WCIT founding governors of our prestigious West London school, Hammersmith Academy and also to have had the professional privilege of working with Lilian Baylis Technology School on an international school linking project with the US on adolescent literacy and communication skills.
During the coming year, I hope to further the beginnings of the discussion on future collaborative projects such as with the University of Bolton, and through the WCIT University Awards, widen our reach of participation and support into the north-west and Scotland. The WCIT Charity is continuing to sponsor the Chair of IT at Gresham College for another three years. We have a new incumbent, Professor Richard Harvey FBCS who made a terrific start on Tuesday evening. We are delighted that Richard has generously offered to work with those members of the Livery supporting the development of the technologies required to assist our two winners of the WCIT Charity Awards 2018. There is some exciting joined-up thinking to be had, here!
Thirdly, I have regularly enjoyed my visits to the Royal Corps of Signals at Blandford through the good offices of our liaison officer, Liverymen Mike Williams. To further cement our relationship, I look forward to regularly welcoming Lt Col Katherine Jardine, CO of 11th Signals Regiment and Reserves Colonel, Col Deborah Douglas as well as other members of the Corps.
Early in the new year, we shall be welcoming a new Clerk, Mrs Susan Hoefling. She will review practices with the Deputy Master and me, with the Hon Treasurer and Financial Controller, look to giving the Company value for money, and work with the Membership Committee on finalising and implementing our new strategy. These are streams of work, I am sure every member of the Livery will welcome.
I intend to visit as many panels as I can throughout my year and to take the opportunity to represent the Company in the City and elsewhere. My first two weeks have been enjoyable and I have attended ten events already, the highlights being at the Scriveners as well as the Musicians’ Masters & Clerks’ Dinners, the IT4Arts Breakfast Briefing with a stellar list of attendees and the first Gresham lecture of the new season. And I thank everyone involved in making my Installation, the Service and Dinner uniquely special and memorable.
It used to be that Livery Companies were seen as gentlemen’s dining clubs. I can assure you that whilst we do enjoy a good lunch or dinner, the WCIT is an inclusive charitable institution and we can only rest when our work is done. I would ask all members of the Livery to support the upcoming Lord Mayor in the implementation of his Digital Skills Strategy as well as his charity, and I look forward to seeing you as often as possible ensuing year.
In closing, I thank the Deputy Master and Wardens as well as the Hall Staff for assisting in getting my year as Master underway. It is a privilege to serve the WCIT.
Wendy DC Parmley
Master WCIT 2018-19