By Steve Williams, Senior Partner for Deloitte in Scotland and Northern Ireland
As 2017 is Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we were asked by Vision Scotland Magazine to consider how our past impacts our future, and how important our history and heritage is to our Firm.
Acknowledging and celebrating Scotland’s unique place in, and contribution to, the world is something we’ve embedded within Deloitte - we see it as an important part of doing business here.
To take a few small examples, in Glasgow our meeting rooms are named after some of Scotland’s most celebrated innovators, including Alexander Fleming and John Logie Baird. Our office in Edinburgh pays similar homage to Scotland’s heritage, with rooms named after castles across the country. In fact, the office sits right at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, immersing our clients and staff from across the UK and further afield in Scottish history.
Beyond the traditional landmarks, we’ve also worked to cultivate links with another of Scotland’s most famous institutions: its universities. In Aberdeen, we’re working closely with the city’s higher education establishments to create employment and training opportunities for more graduates, while we’ve also developed ties to Strathclyde and Edinburgh universities.
We have also been collaborating with these world-class establishments to drive forward the Fintech agenda in Scotland, building on our financial services history. With such exceptional expertise and technology talent we have been working hard to drive and build on this sector – as well as encourage investment and promote collaboration.
Part of this has involved working with teachers in our local secondary schools to encourage pupils to consider careers in fintech, and finding ways to bring the underrepresented to the centre of this industry. We hosted Scotland’s first “datathon” this year, which enabled us to meet with pupils who had become engrossed in technology and have incredible ideas about what the future of financial services could, and should, look like and very importantly how we promote far better financial inclusion.
With technology already embedded in our history, but now moving at an unprecedented pace, we continue to expand Deloitte Digital’s Edinburgh Studio and develop our Greenhouse Labs, which encourage our clients and stakeholders to approach challenges in new and different ways. Our investment is underpinned by the strength of our Scottish client relationships, the breadth of the local talent base, and the opportunities presented by Scotland’s burgeoning tech scene. We believe that these investments will support and immerse us further in Edinburgh’s ambitious start-ups and tech companies.
Further north, in Aberdeen, a recent highlight was our headline sponsorship of a major participatory arts project, Granite, which was presented by the National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen City Council. Granite celebrated the spirit of Aberdeen’s people, while exploring the city’s past, present and future. We’re extremely proud to have supported such a creative and inclusive project. Our involvement was also recognised at this year’s Arts & Business Awards Ceremony winning the 2017 People Award for the largest cultural project ever undertaken in Aberdeen.
We continue to embrace our rich history of innovation through our long-standing commitment to supporting Scotland’s most ambitious entrepreneurs by supporting Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2017. Now in our 12th year of sponsoring the event, we are proud of the success stories that continue to emerge out of Scotland. We are equally honoured to have helped some of Scotland’s biggest success stories during this time, at different stages in their businesses’ lifecycles.
We are proud of our rich and diverse land, people and places and want to continue to embrace our sense of Scotland, steeped in history, celebrating its past but continually evolving and seeking new ways to work and engage with the world.
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