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We were delighted to have John Beer of the Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering speak at the fourth Norfolk Developers breakfast at the Maids Head in Norwich.

I’ve heard a lot in the last week about how the problem with getting young people leaving school in Norfolk into jobs is a lack of aspiration. I’ll go into some of the reasons I’ve heard this is the case in another post. What’s interesting is what’s being done about it in West Norfolk.

The Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering is a £350M development being built on the old Burnham Market RAF base. The intention is to attract Artificial Intelligence and other high tech firms to the region. As well as office space, the site will include a conference centre, incubator space and a new site for a local academy allowing it to double in size to 1500 students in anticipation of the growth expect in the region as a result of building the centre. Local infrastructure improvements, including an upgrade to Ely station, and 600MB broadband are also planned as part of the development.

John Beer is clearly passionate about making a difference and I believe that the Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering will do just that. I also think it will even out the distribution of tech jobs and firms in Norfolk. At the moment, as you would expect, it’s very Norwich centric.

John told us about the plans for the centre, the history of the project, the companies involved and his personal story along the way. It was fascinating and would have easily made a much longer session.

The Norfolk Developers breakfasts are held quarterly with the intention of exposing people with a more general interest in tech to the group. They take place in the Oak Room of the Maids Head in Norwich which comfortably holds 20 people and the excellent breakfast is from the buffet.

Words: Paul Grenyer