Toby Parkins

Director and Co-Founder

Toby was an agile practitioner talking to a product owner from a global corporation at a barbecue when the Headforwards concept began to develop. Having started out on the internet in the early 90s, Toby founded UKNetWeb, a web development company and knew that he could deliver a better outsource software company. Toby and Craig co-founded Headforwards in 2011. Toby is also the founder of Agile on the Beach, President of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and a Director of Software Cornwall.

Who’s winning in the space race at the moment? Is it Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos? Right now actually, it feels like Cornwall is. 

This autumn, Cornwall is gearing up to host the UK’s first horizontal satellite launch with Virgin Orbit. Our region is leading some of the space innovations taking place globally, and as a result playing a vital role in helping the UK achieve its target of capturing 10% of the £400bn global space market by 2030.  

There is huge opportunity for the UK tech sector to capitalise on the excitement. Whereas there’s plenty of tech jobs that people aren’t that interested in hearing about at parties, people love space. Maybe it’s their long-lost dream of becoming an astronaut, or maybe it’s the romance of a starry sky, but people who don’t want to hear about tech, want to hear about space.

Why does this matter? 

Young people love space too. We have an opportunity as a sector to encourage people of all ages to start exploring how they could get involved in this type of technology. Whether directly involved in space, or using data being relayed through satellites, ultimately the opportunity is there for individuals to learn about technologies that could lead them in a multitude of different directions on this earth and beyond. 

Talent and skills remain the largest barriers for the growth of the tech sector, and we should be championing any applications which engage young people to develop the skills and aspirations to work in our sector. 

Running on STEAM

Spaceport Cornwall have done an incredible job of taking space beyond the confines of this upcoming launch with educational outreach to thousands of young people in schools across Cornwall. One of their overarching ambitions was to inspire the next generation of young people into studying STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) subjects and having an interest in space related developments.

Despite the tech sector playing a huge part in the success of some of the most incredible advances and inventions, it’s difficult to capture the excitement and present it to the outside world when so much of the work is behind the scenes. 

If we are to close the skills gap in the tech sector, we have to start talking about the end application. To use the old adage: people don’t buy matches, they buy fire. Leveraging off this space programme, harnessing the excitement and encouraging people to make the connection between technology and the incredible exploration being done, will, I believe, encourage more people to explore a career in tech.

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